A gutsy, nuts-and-bolts account of one man’s valiant struggle against the odds.




A debut memoir focuses on a man determined to live life to the fullest while in the grips of a ravaging disease.

Darren Cosentino was a man of action. He was winning praise at his construction job by age 11; the next year, he ran his first half-marathon. Later married to a wife he adored, beloved by his community, and enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, Darren had every reason to appreciate life and to crave more of it. He was—in his own telling and the recollections of his wife, Sara Cosentino—an active man: “I go to hot yoga five times a week and I swim in the lake every day during the summer. I paddleboard, fish, hunt, and travel.” By 37, he firmly believed the wonderful life he enjoyed would run along smoothly for decades more. Until, following a bad trip to Club Med in Cancún, Mexico, full of stomach pain and a routine surgery to remove what doctors assumed was a benign obstruction, Darren was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. He was told he’d have to receive chemotherapy for the rest of his days. At best, doctors could get him two more years. Shocked, Darren quickly decided to make the most of whatever moments he had left. Between rigorous chemotherapy sessions, he found time for scuba diving, traveling abroad, and meeting good friends. Just when readers will begin to worry that Darren’s coming across as implausibly superhuman, he drops his voice to confide the sort of thing other patients may well need to hear: “I was ashamed to tell people that I had cancer and ashamed for feeling ashamed.” This poignant memoir—which includes family photographs—shows that Darren was serious about the treatment he underwent. He describes the ordeal lucidly and with enough useful details to make this work something of a handbook for other sufferers. Even in extremis, as Sara recounts, “instead of getting angry or remorseful, he welcomed visitors and fought each new symptom.” Readers will likely see Darren as the inspiration he obviously was in life, and his absorbing story should help them take heart.

A gutsy, nuts-and-bolts account of one man’s valiant struggle against the odds.

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5255-0886-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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