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Forthright, entertaining essays that portray all the love, struggle, and anguish of being a woman and a mother.

A collection of quirky, funny, sad, and moving short personal essays that compress the author’s life into the snippets and moments that shaped who she is today.

Davies, whose work has appeared in various journals and the Best American Essays 2015, doesn’t offer a detailed, exhaustive account of raising her children or of her own childhood. Rather, she gracefully distills her formative experiences into a purer form, capturing each time frame with a few apt examples that illustrate the impact they had on her. Readers will sense the author’s loneliness and despair at the constant moves she made as a child. "You should have known,” she writes. “Your happiness should have told you. As soon as you get used to the things in a place, as soon as you find your footing, as soon as you give yourself permission to like it, it is time to go." This early feeling hovered over Davies as she grew into adulthood, married, had children, and toiled through a divorce. She recounts how she offered solace to a young car accident victim but took years to comprehend the magnitude of that moment; struggled with her pregnancies and postpartum depression; and found humor in the stoicism of a New England Thanksgiving dinner. She also shares her many conflicting emotions regarding the joys and challenges of raising an autistic son. Throughout, Davies balances the positive and negative elements of motherhood, and in one laugh-out-loud section, she offers her picks for “Men I Would Have Slept With” (before her marriage), an intriguing list that includes Frederick Douglass, Jeff Buckley, Jason Bateman, LeBron James, and Ben Carson (!), among others. In the kaleidoscopic array of experiences she has chosen to share, readers will feel the depth and breadth of this woman's life.

Forthright, entertaining essays that portray all the love, struggle, and anguish of being a woman and a mother.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-13370-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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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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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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