Next book


A fetching, straightforward account of the struggles and successes of a respected radio personality. Rehm, host of an eponymous National Public Radio show, offers an intimate look into her childhood, marriage, career, and battle with a rare neurological disorder that has affected her speech and thus nearly destroyed her career. Scarred by a vitriolic mother who disciplined her both physically and with icy silence, Rehm suffered from low self-esteem and guilt. Raised in a traditional Arab-American household to be a dutiful mother and wife, she broke out of a brief, disappointing marriage and sought more independence in a second one. Motherhood besieged her with loneliness and overwhelming responsibility. While her husband was absorbed in his State Department work, Rehm found solace in playing the piano, sewing, and gardening. It was only when she volunteered at a local radio station that she blossomed and filled the intellectual void in her life. Eventually landing a job as a talk-show host, Rehm both found her voice and got to interview major figures like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Sagan. Ironically, at the height of her career, she had to flit from doctor to doctor desperately seeking to identify the mysterious affliction ruining her voice. When it was finally diagnosed and treated, heroic rehabilitation work was required. Returning to host her show after months of absence, Rehm became a national spokesperson for spasmodic dysphonia, contending that her disability has given added meaning to her life. Now 62, she anticipates that an aging population “will welcome more mature voices on the air.” Though Rehm attributes her present emotional well-being and professional success largely to years of therapy, credit must be given to her sheer determination and intellectual vigor, readily evident here. Told with honesty and simplicity. An articulate and inspirational travelogue of one woman’s remarkable journey. (8 pages photos) (First printing of 50,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 1999

ISBN: 0-375-40163-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Next book


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

Next book



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

Close Quickview