Frank, funny and revealing of relations between—and among—the sexes.

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A YEAR STRAIGHT

CONFESSIONS OF A BOY-CRAZY LESBIAN BEAUTY QUEEN

A 30-something comedic actress explores her sexual orientation.

Attracted to women from a young age, as an adult, Azzoni found herself not only a card-carrying member of the Brooklyn lesbian community, but, after claiming the Miss Lez beauty-pageant title, its veritable poster child. “I couldn’t have been gayer,” she writes. “I cat-sat, drank herbal tea, and in high school played field hockey. I’d been both vegan and vegetarian. I was a food co-op member. I drove a stick shift. As a kid I undressed Barbie and Skipper and made them kiss and touch boobs. I was even allergic to nuts.” Consequently, the author was shocked when, one day in yoga class, the embrace of her yoga instructor left her breathless with desire for him. That brief encounter ignited Azzoni’s curiosity to become intimately involved with men. In often-hilarious detail, the author recounts her daring voyage into the dizzying cosmos of hetero dating. What sets this account apart from the typical mildly ironic coming-of-age chick-lit memoir is Azzoni’s bald examination of how acting on this “newfound man-lust” would rock not only her sense of self but her station in the gay community: “What if I were truly attracted to men?” she writes. “Would I still have a place in my world? Could I betray the very people who had cheered me on as Miss Lez? I was reluctant to forfeit the rewards of coming out in the first place.” Readers will appreciate the candor of the author’s admission to fearing that her attraction to men might drive her back into the closet with the very friends who, like her, had struggled to get out of it.

Frank, funny and revealing of relations between—and among—the sexes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58005-361-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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