A heartfelt testament to the power of positive thinking and a primer for readers considering open-water scuba certification.

DEEP DIVE AGAINST THE ODDS

A debut memoir celebrates the author’s determination not to be limited by her physical disability.

Myrick was born with “a congenital defect of the left arm called Radial Hemimelia…where the arm bone (radius) is considerably shortened.” Despite this, she “actually led a somewhat ‘normal’ life,” doing everything her “siblings did—playing dodge ball, softball, and jacks.” Growing up in a family that “saw me, not my hand” enabled the author to develop a can-do attitude and to persevere even when she feared death, as when she started learning to swim. Her interest in diving was born when she watched a scuba show on TV: She “was mesmerized” by the “explosion of color…Bright yellow, pink and blue fish were everywhere.” Before long, she was taking her first diving lessons. Then, for her certification dives, she and her husband, James, chose Divetech at the Cobalt Coast Resort in Grand Cayman, known for its tranquil, clear waters. But choppy seas with strong undercurrents were the order of the day. She failed her first try at certification, but she persisted, succeeding on her second attempt. In prose that is often searing, she describes being constantly worried about how people perceived her. As a child, she often asked “God to make people stop staring” at her hand. The opening chapter dream sequence during her flight to Grand Cayman provides a backdrop for her love and terror of the sea: Moving “timidly into the warm water, wading ankle deep, the water seems to beckon me,” and when it “is just below my knees, my heart starts to race; I can hear pounding in my ears and I can hardly breathe.” Readers who are interested in scuba diving should appreciate Myrick’s straightforward descriptions of the equipment and the step-by-step skills needed for open-water diving certification: “You wear the mask over your eyes and nose to provide an air pocket for better vision and equalization of pressure”; “we began switching from the snorkel to the second-stage regulator, lifting the inflator hose, releasing air from the BCD, exhaling.”

A heartfelt testament to the power of positive thinking and a primer for readers considering open-water scuba certification.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9600839-0-9

Page Count: 89

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

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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