A frank, compassionate, and highly detailed account of the roller-coaster ride of caring for a disabled, autistic child.

STRANGE BEAUTY

A PORTRAIT OF MY SON

Factor (Love Maps, 2015, etc.) chronicles life with her nonverbal son Felix, who is autistic and physically disabled.

When the planes hit the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, the author’s boyfriend, Jason, was near the buildings. While she waited for news from him, she had the agonizing fear that they might never have a child together, which led them to getting married and pregnant a year later. During her pregnancy, Factor contracted chicken pox, which, though she didn’t realize it at the time, hurt her growing fetus. In this honest memoir that vibrates with unconditional love, the author details what life is like with Felix and her other two children. It took many months, numerous visits to doctors and specialists, and endless tests before she found out just how handicapped Felix would be due to his lack of white matter in his brain. Factor adeptly chronicles each step of the process, each moment of triumph when Felix reached a new goal, and the times when she and her husband felt dismay and even shame when he failed to advance like the other toddlers around him. Throughout, readers gain a sense of the complexity of Felix, whether he’s happy, responding to music therapy, or engaged in some awful fit that forces him to scream and tear at his own body. Factor also discusses her other two children, who were born without such issues, her battles with the health care and educational systems, and her subsequent founding of the nonprofit community center Extreme Kids & Crew. The author’s story demonstrates the need for more quality help for parents of children with disabilities, who will find solace in knowing that others have struggled and found joy in this type of parenting.

A frank, compassionate, and highly detailed account of the roller-coaster ride of caring for a disabled, autistic child.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-941529-72-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Parallax Press

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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