Not for the faint of heart.




A walk through one young man's accidental year of teen prostitution in 1970s Los Angeles.

For young David Sterry, moving to the City of Angels was particularly rough. Enrolled as a freshman in Immaculate Heart College and expecting to live with his mother, he discovered in short order that his mother would not, in fact, be living in L.A., and that Immaculate Heart had nowhere for him to stay. Broke and suddenly homeless, the naïve kid was then raped and ripped off by a man offering him a steak. Sterry paints his desperation so clearly that it’s a relief when he finds a way to make a buck by working as a “chicken,” a young male prostitute hustling the women of Hollywood. After his pimp Sunny walks him through his initiation “like a black ’Enry ’Iggins,” Sterry's career is launched, and we're off on a crazy ride through a world where “GET THE MONEY UP FRONT” is the ruling philosophy. With a puzzling mixture of pride and shame, and a hole in his soul that grows bigger with every trick, Sterry wanders through a world populated by clients who range from run-of-the-mill lonely ladies to a hippy who introduces him to tantric sex and from the lesbian couple who pays him to shine silverware in the buff to the judge who hands over $500 to be spanked with a ruler. Vignettes from a not-so-bad childhood are interwoven as the author explores family relationships, his parents' crumbled marriage, and his inability to look for help from home, all related in a tumble of prose that is sometimes magical, sometimes distractingly messy. Although rarely played for thrills, the depictions of sex with men, women, and animals are nonetheless quite detailed.

Not for the faint of heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-039418-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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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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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...


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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