Hope and love trump tragedy in this heartfelt, vigorous memoir.

A tragic accident drastically alters the lives and responsibilities of a producer and film and TV writer and his family.

Segal’s life came to a screeching halt when his beloved wife, Susan, an actress, was hit by a city bus head-on in 2012. Curious readers may skip to the end of this smoothly written memoir to discover that Segal’s wife (and daughter Alyce) miraculously survived the accident. However, the true heart of this book is the long journey afterward, as the author diligently and eloquently documents his wife’s painful recovery and his efforts to hold the family unit together. In flashbacks, Segal writes lovingly of his storybook romance with Susan, whom he met through a friend in New York City, and of their brisk marriage and relocation to Los Angeles, where they both thrived on the Hollywood film and TV circuit. Two decades later, while the marriage began to show some wear and tear, the near-fatal tragedy seemed to reinforce priorities and the idea that true love could indeed conquer all. With honesty and conviction, the author meticulously recalls his first feelings after Susan was bedridden for two months with critical injuries, including a massive brain bleed, a broken neck, broken arms and feet, and a crushed pelvis. Segal also remained dedicated to updating friends on Facebook with detailed, often heart-wrenching posts. Susan’s journey toward wellness was arduous, replete with “ICU psychosis,” hallucinations, and confusion, but it was all tempered by the love of her husband and children and the shared hope that she would fully recover. Segal also details the aftermath of her ICU stay, the long road through rehab, and how the family gelled back together; photographs of Susan’s mangled car horrifyingly illustrate the deadly extent of the accident. Some sections meander and ramble a bit, but overall, Segal’s story reflects the intensity and desperation of an “all consuming” familial trauma.

Hope and love trump tragedy in this heartfelt, vigorous memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-945551-38-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Prospect Park Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


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



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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