A sharp, refreshingly frank collection from a fresh voice.



A debut collection of personal essays on the meaning of being a woman living in a patriarchal society.

Pine (Modern Drama/Univ. Coll. Dublin; The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture, 2010, etc.) breaks years of learned silence to take feminist aim at taboo subjects. The opening essay, “Notes on Intemperance,” concerns her relationship with her father, a depressed alcoholic writer who “seemed happiest when he was as far away from his family as possible.” As she chronicles his struggle to pull back from the brink of liver failure, she examines the difficult emotions she experienced as a loving daughter who raged inwardly at her father’s profound selfishness. Her experiences starting a family of her own were no less painful, but for different reasons. In “From the Baby Years,” Pine discusses the pain of agonizing over whether or not she wanted a baby and then undergoing several unsuccessful fertility treatments. In another essay, she considers the female body, discussing menstruation in a powerfully unfettered way. Daring to offer details about such topics as menstruation during sex, Pine calls attention to the way female bleeding—and, by extension, the female body—is still seen as unclean. She suggests that her own discomfort with even saying she is menstruating is evidence of the pernicious way “women are policed. And of how we police ourselves.” In the most personally revealing essay, “Something About Me,” the author chronicles her “wild child” teenage years when she was part of the London club scene. A lonely child from a broken and dysfunctional home, Pine skipped school, drank, drugged, and had sex with strangers. Eventually, university life saved her, and she became a professor. But as she writes in her essay about being a woman in an institution built on patriarchal values, that home had its own breakdown-inducing stressors. Bold and timely, Pine’s book tells truths about being female and human that are as necessary to speak as they are to hear.

A sharp, refreshingly frank collection from a fresh voice.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984855-45-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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 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...


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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