A charismatic storyteller shares a life lived against the grain.

A GRACIOUS HERESY

THE QUEER CALLING OF AN UNLIKELY PROPHET

The debut memoir of an out lesbian who seeks to become an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) recounts the unexpected way that she was called to God.

“If anyone tells you they have ‘the answer,’ run in the opposite direction,” Tuttle advises her daughter at one point in this memoir after an unpleasant experience involving members of the Unification Church. It’s an unexpected sentiment in a book about one woman’s call to the ministry, but none better describes Tuttle’s unconventional life path. The author was raised as an “army brat” by religious parents with a keen sense of justice. In 1969, she became pregnant and rushed into a doomed marriage. Her time supporting her actor husband exposed her to new people and ideas. Soon, she discovered feminism and, after a chance encounter with Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon’s 1972 book, Lesbian/Woman, her true sexuality. For some, being a single, lesbian mother raising a daughter in the 1960s and ’70s would have been challenge enough, but after a bad breakup and a period of deep prayer, Tuttle also had an overwhelming religious epiphany. She hoped to serve the Presbyterian Church as an ordained minister, but her status as an out lesbian meant that she would face challenges at every turn. As an author, Tuttle is charming and self-effacing, and she approaches her story in the same manner in which she lobbied for herself within the Presbyterian Church—with patience and reason. Her passion for God and her certainty of purpose come across as sincere, and she effectively shares her sense of excitement throughout, even when describing the hatching of some praying mantises or the personality of an old building’s architecture. Much of the book is about exposing prejudices; in the case of the church, she asserts that financial motivations, under the guise of “tradition,” have impeded her ordainment. Her discussion of injustice is also broad in scope, citing such things as her experiences with racism as a young girl and her sexual assault during a breast examination.

A charismatic storyteller shares a life lived against the grain.

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5326-5573-9

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Wipf and Stock

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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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