A rock ’n’ roll fairy tale with a sunny, but gritty, heroine.




An irresistible memoir of one of the lesser lights of a major constellation of rock stars and their satellites.

Assisted by veteran co-author Ketcham (co-author, with William Cope Moyers: Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, 2006, etc.), O’Dell discusses how her friends and lovers, as the subtitle of her book makes clear, included some of the most famous people of her generation. How did this girl from Oklahoma, by way of Tucson and Los Angeles, become a member of rock’s innermost circle, a singer on the chorus of “Hey, Jude,” the inspiration for songs by Leon Russell, George Harrison and Joni Mitchell and the sometime nemesis of Eric Clapton, lover of Russell, Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan? Her ascent was due partly to her being in the right place at the right time, an intrepidness that led her to fly, at age 20, to London to look for a job at the Beatles’ Apple Records, and a talent for knowing how to give people exactly what they wanted without getting in their way. “I was adept at dealing with famous people with complicated egos,” she writes. “I wasn’t afraid of them or overawed by their stardom. I could see the person behind the cloak of fame, but—and this was key—I never, ever forgot that the cloak was there.” A fixture on the Rolling Stones’ notorious 1972 tour in support of Exile on Main Street, after a few years she was managing major tours herself—she was probably the first woman to do so—including Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975. O’Dell provides valuable inside information about the landscape of ’70s rock, but she also looks at the complicated relationships at the center of Pattie Boyd’s Wonderful Tonight (2007), a collaboration between Boyd, Harrison, Clapton and Starr and his wife. Though the chronology takes bigger jumps over the years in the later chapters, the book also chronicles the author’s triumphs over addictions to alcohol and cocaine and her safe landing as a mother and hypnotherapist/drug counselor in Tucson.

A rock ’n’ roll fairy tale with a sunny, but gritty, heroine.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4165-9093-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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


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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