Debut author Currey-Wilson takes TV seriously, but never herself so much.

THE BIG TURNOFF

CONFESSIONS OF A TV-ADDICTED MOM TRYING TO RAISE A TV-FREE KID

An entertaining, inspiring and decidedly countercultural account of parenting in a media-crazy world.

From the moment she became pregnant, Currey-Wilson decided to shield her child from television. That was easier said than done. TV seemed to shadow the baby even before birth. During labor, his mother got into an argument with a midwife who thought that the television might provide distraction from her contractions. When little Casey finally arrived, Mom began to realize that she’d set herself quite a challenge. She still enjoyed TV herself and snuck in a show when Casey napped or was cared for by Dad, but her son watched almost no television before his sixth birthday. His teachers credited some of his unusual academic aptitude to the fact that he was reading or playing when other kids were zoned out in front of Barney. Yet this book’s most fascinating sections don’t have much directly to do with Casey. The author’s television turnoff sensitized her to the important place TV plays in friendships and even familial relationships. She got along best with her somewhat difficult mother, for example, when the two were parked in front of the tube; once TV time was limited, they struggled to find a new way to interact. Her stance also affected her bonding with other new mothers, who felt threatened and judged by her TV rules. As Casey got older, she worried that his friends’ moms didn’t want to have him over to play, since they knew he would rather draw or jump rope than watch a video.

Debut author Currey-Wilson takes TV seriously, but never herself so much.

Pub Date: April 20, 2007

ISBN: 1-56512-539-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2007

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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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