An affecting but uneven memoir of addiction and overcoming despair.

Where the Monster Weights

A young woman narrates the story of her struggles with anorexia.

In her debut memoir, Weber describes her process of battling—and healing from—anorexia. The account begins when she and her twin brother, Corbin, left their home in Texas and moved with their family to Singapore. Corbin struggled to adjust, acting out and cutting himself. This took its toll on the entire family and left Weber feeling alienated and neglected. Psychologically fragile, she realized that being thin attracted the positive attention she craved. She developed an eating disorder, which slowly and insidiously subsumed her life. The process of acknowledging and managing her disease upended her life as she became an expert at hiding the extent of her starvation from her family and boyfriend; she repeatedly lied to her nutritionist about how much she was (and wasn’t) eating, straining her relationships until her health reached a crisis point. Weber has an important, frightening story to tell, and some of the details she shares are enlightening. For example, she describes the disorder as her “monster,” a voice that constantly undermined her and controlled her thoughts. The prose, however, drifts toward the distractingly florid, especially when describing Weber’s relationship with her boyfriend, Curtis: “I thought I caught a glimpse of a storm cloud on the horizon of our fairy tale’s powder blue skies.” Also distracting are some of the black-and-white photographs that Weber includes of herself and her friends and family; they seem superfluous and remove the reader from the flow of the narrative. The exceptions are the photos that show just how dangerously thin she became.

An affecting but uneven memoir of addiction and overcoming despair.

Pub Date: May 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-2940-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: July 27, 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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