A sincere and compassionate work whose themes are sometimes overshadowed by flamboyant presentation.

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THE SHAPESHIFTER

A memoir of divine love that reads like a heady dream.

Debut author Navone writes that she’s had numerous visions and mystical experiences over the course of her life, but none surpass her extraordinary encounter with spiritual beings—“a group of Enlightened Masters from the Brotherhood of Light”—who, she says, gave her the means to write this book through the power of channeling. This “Divine Intervention” transformed her worldview, she notes, and had an overall positive impact on her life. Early on, she calls the tendency to live one’s life according to the whims of one’s ego “the Waiting Room.” She says that a person can live in a beautiful place, surrounded by luxuries, as she was, and still be in the Waiting Room if one has a “closed heart.” But a deep, powerful yearning for something greater, she asserts, can be the seed that grows into a divine revelation, allowing one to cast off fear and insecurity. The author traces her own metamorphosis from her first spiritual encounters to the channeling of this book. Readers follow her as she travels to many different places, including India and Brazil, on a quest to find sacred portals where she could receive divine messages. Eventually she found herself in Egypt, gazing in awe at the ancient pyramids, and there, she says, she worked feverishly on the book for long periods with little rest. Throughout this work, Navone writes passionately, her words filled with emotion: “Beloved reader, it is time to wake up and feel the immense power that already resides in each one of us.” Her descriptions of her time in Egypt, in particular, are rich with symbolism and heavy with meaning. As a result, it may take some effort on the part of the reader to cut through the flowery language (“I came to realize that Light is pure consciousness, that Love is what unifies all parts of us into Oneness; the universal glue that both binds us and dissolves all feelings of separation”) in order to understand the simple message within.

A sincere and compassionate work whose themes are sometimes overshadowed by flamboyant presentation.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939116-37-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Waterside Productions

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

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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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BECOMING

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...

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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