A riveting account of an injured prison worker’s harrowing road to recovery.



In this memoir, a woman conquers a broken system that nearly crushed her.

Plante’s book could have been entitled Twenty Seconds Changed My Life Forever, which is how the young former prison worker depicts a horrific beating by an inmate that left her invisibly, yet indelibly, scarred. Few people under the age of 30 have experienced enough to write their life stories, but the attack and its aftermath eclipse what most folks may encounter if they live to be 100. Her vivid descriptions are in a gripping you-are-there style (The inmates “started walking themselves to their rooms. They, too, were all too familiar with the drill. Click, click, click, the doors locked behind them. Except that last door never clicked”). The engrossing work reflects the author’s courage and persistence in a recovery process so demoralizing that she contemplated suicide as she battled with traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, and partial loss of vision and balance. From childhood, she had dreamed of working for a law enforcement agency. She was offered two positions with state prisons and chose the juvenile facility because she wanted to help misguided youth. One Saturday night while she was working in the high-risk male unit, an inmate, without warning, mercilessly pummeled her. A staff member paired to work with her stood behind the inmate, merely waving his arms. His inaction—and even more so, his indifference—struck a nerve in Plante and seemed to inspire the title of this illuminating book, as did her handoff from one medical provider to another. No one seemed interested in helping her until she was assigned to a case manager named Donna. Infuriated to discover that the proper diagnostic tests had never been ordered, Donna forced the issue. A surgeon finally made the correct diagnosis and relieved the author’s searing migraine headaches by removing a nerve in her head. Plante emerged on the other side and found work as a state revenue agent. (She is now a principal revenue agent.) The author met with her attacker, accepted his apology, and forgave him. Three years after the assault, she wrote her chilling story to throw a solid lifeline to other trauma survivors and to educate their caregivers. This stirring, instructive memoir should especially appeal to readers interested in criminal justice and traumatic brain injuries.

A riveting account of an injured prison worker’s harrowing road to recovery.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0930-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.


A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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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 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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