Accessible yet abbreviated; will appeal largely to boomers who want a broad-brush approach to the major elements of...



An engagingly written but thin overview of retirement basics.

Debut author Davis, a former New York City chiropractor, wrote this book after doing research for her own retirement. Intending it to be “help for broke baby boomers,” Davis does indeed cover all the basics: Social Security, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, retirement plans, wills, living wills, health, working during retirement, saving money, and where to relocate. Davis writes in a folksy, informal style, sharing her own story and adding some personality to otherwise fairly standard text. The chapters are short, offering a cursory glance at each topic without the depth of detail found in other retirement books; instead, the author provides numerous links to additional material. Much of the book’s content is, in fact, compiled from other sources, but for those readers who don’t wish to hunt around, Davis’ work is likely to be a time-saver. Still, readers should be aware that this guide just scratches the surface. The 11-page chapter titled “Retirement Plans,” for example, is nothing more than definitions of and a few facts about 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs and Roth IRAs. The discussion of wills, inheritance and living wills, a mere five pages, feels incomplete. The chapters about healthy eating and exercise seem to convey the author’s personal view of food and her own experience with physical activity rather than authoritative, objective facts. One of the more compelling chapters, “Living Abroad,” should be valuable to retirees who may be considering an international relocation. Here, the author shares useful details about visa and financial requirements. She also provides a helpful rundown of many of the more popular international retirement spots, such as Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua and Thailand (though one can’t help wondering why Costa Rica was excluded). A nice touch: Davis includes relevant lines from songs popular with boomers, like “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac and “Let’s Live for Today” by The Grass Roots.

Accessible yet abbreviated; will appeal largely to boomers who want a broad-brush approach to the major elements of retirement.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692303375

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Golden Goddess Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2014

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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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Naughty good fun from an impossibly sardonic rogue, quickly rising to Twainian stature.


The undisputed champion of the self-conscious and the self-deprecating returns with yet more autobiographical gems from his apparently inexhaustible cache (Naked, 1997, etc.).

Sedaris at first mines what may be the most idiosyncratic, if innocuous, childhood since the McCourt clan. Here is father Lou, who’s propositioned, via phone, by married family friend Mrs. Midland (“Oh, Lou. It just feels so good to . . . talk to someone who really . . . understands”). Only years later is it divulged that “Mrs. Midland” was impersonated by Lou’s 12-year-old daughter Amy. (Lou, to the prankster’s relief, always politely declined Mrs. Midland’s overtures.) Meanwhile, Mrs. Sedaris—soon after she’s put a beloved sick cat to sleep—is terrorized by bogus reports of a “miraculous new cure for feline leukemia,” all orchestrated by her bitter children. Brilliant evildoing in this family is not unique to the author. Sedaris (also an essayist on National Public Radio) approaches comic preeminence as he details his futile attempts, as an adult, to learn the French language. Having moved to Paris, he enrolls in French class and struggles endlessly with the logic in assigning inanimate objects a gender (“Why refer to Lady Flesh Wound or Good Sir Dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?”). After months of this, Sedaris finds that the first French-spoken sentiment he’s fully understood has been directed to him by his sadistic teacher: “Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section.” Among these misadventures, Sedaris catalogs his many bugaboos: the cigarette ban in New York restaurants (“I’m always searching the menu in hope that some courageous young chef has finally recognized tobacco as a vegetable”); the appending of company Web addresses to television commercials (“Who really wants to know more about Procter & Gamble?”); and a scatological dilemma that would likely remain taboo in most households.

Naughty good fun from an impossibly sardonic rogue, quickly rising to Twainian stature.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-77772-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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