A colorful, faith-based memoir of recovery.

The Body of Chris

A MEMOIR OF OBSESSION, ADDICTION, AND MADNESS

In his debut memoir, Cole recounts his struggles with eating disorders, substance abuse, and mental illness.

Even in childhood, Cole had problems: overweight, asthmatic, and a chronic bed-wetter, he was picked on at school and performed poorly in gym class. Though his parents were attentive and loving, Cole grew up feeling cursed “that God had made a mistake, that [his] body was an accident.” Beginning with an addictive relationship to junk food, he made his way through periods of infatuation with dieting, God, penis enlargement, and recreational drugs before landing in rehab for alcoholism while still in high school. Yet none of that was as bad as his first psychotic episode: at 18, while a freshman at the University of Georgia, Cole became convinced that he was Jesus Christ and attempted to perform miracles, believing that his arresting officers were leading him to his own crucifixion. Cole’s yearslong path to a stable life was a maze of denial, confusion, relapse, and recovery, though it was one that ultimately led to a place of health, love, and faith. Now a life coach, the author hopes his story may offer guidance for those who have suffered similarly. Addiction, disordered eating, and manic depression are each, by themselves, tremendous hurdles, and the mere fact that Cole has weathered all three makes his account remarkable. His tone is open and accessible, though he often allows his prose to drift toward melodrama. Describing a friend’s funeral, at which the Beatles’ “Let It Be” played, Cole writes, “instead of ‘words of wisdom,’ all I heard were words of confusion.” The complexity of Cole’s flaws and the roller coaster of his life (along with his religiosity, which manifests in ways that are both harmful and benign) create a unique, compelling narrative. Readers may not reach the same conclusions about life that Cole does, but chances are good that they will walk away from this book with at least a pinch of awe.

A colorful, faith-based memoir of recovery.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-941758-14-4

Page Count: 237

Publisher: Inkshares

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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