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I HATE EVERYONE, EXCEPT YOU

A thoroughly light and entertaining memoir.

Fashion maven Kelly (Freakin’ Fabulous on a Budget, 2013, etc.) is more booster than basher in this collection of mostly autobiographical essays about his life on- and off-screen.

At one point late in his amiable memoir, the author, moderator of The Chew and former co-host of What Not to Wear, warns a group of graduating high school kids to “dump the fucking assholes” in their lives. That succinct yet salient exhortation sums up Kelly’s approach to life, both personal and professional. Whether chasing a lucrative career in media or a handsome suitor at the end of the bar, the former Long Island dork who always found fitting in difficult emphasizes his ongoing quest for common decency. Those wishing for a scathing takedown of the TV show he co-hosted with Stacy London for 10 years on TLC will be sorely disappointed. The most caustic Kelly gets on that score is when he concedes that he and the stylish London were like combining baking soda and vinegar: “after the fun part fizzles out, you’re left with a puddle of nothing in particular.” Southern-fried food guru Paula Deen earns a lot more of Kelly’s ire, but only after comparing him to “a turd in the punchbowl” during a live-to-tape broadcast. Usually taking the high road, Kelly recounts past love affairs, run-ins with rude diners, and correspondence from unfavorable viewers with equal, levelheaded aplomb. Kelly also displays a keen sense of slapstick comedy, hilariously portraying the time a trip to the mud baths with an old pal turned into a desperate rescue operation requiring the two childhood friends to see each other naked for the first time: “One might think I deserved a heartfelt thank-you from my oldest friend in the world. Instead, Lisa—covered in so much mud that only the whites of her eyes resembled human tissue—asked: ‘Do your balls always hang that low?’ ”

A thoroughly light and entertaining memoir.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7693-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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NIGHT

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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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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