A hip, humorous confessional written with maturity, panache and sex-positive vibes.

The dream nuptials of a bride-to-be become complicated by a fiance with a penchant for porn.

With great relief, Internet blogger Southwood writes of formally consummating a three-year long-distance relationship by relocating from Vancouver to her boyfriend Robbie’s place in Los Angeles and getting engaged. A restless gal of 28 who’s happy to divulge her sexual repertoire of only “twelve guys and one girl,” this move would be her tenth so far—and hopefully her last. Just days before Southwood’s departure, Robbie, a Hollywood cameraman big on expressive feelings, drops the bombshell that he’s been offered a prized cinematography position with a “reality TV porn” program. Flabbergasted and ambivalent, Southwood agonized over her reaction: Would her latent sexual prudishness spoil their relationship and hijack the wedding, or should she just process the information and deal with it? Their situation worsened before it resolved, and throughout, the author shrewdly ruminates on relationship pitfalls. Southwood’s contemporary analysis revolves around the “ownership” credo of monogamy; these days, she asks, “exactly how much of our significant other’s body and soul do we get?” However, as Robbie’s livelihood put unwanted pressure on their sex life yet concurrently provided a surfeit of hilariously awkward predicaments, the author pauses to shrewdly comment on the male-dominated world of pornography, its effect on early sexual development and infidelity, alongside an explicit cornucopia of porn varieties, sexual positions, terms and conditions, compliments of Robbie’s new job. The main theme running through Southwood’s memoir, however, is not how soul-sucking and unapologetically raunchy the sex industry can be labeled by outsiders, but how much open and unfettered communication is required when one-half of a partnership becomes threatened by the other’s involvement in it.

A hip, humorous confessional written with maturity, panache and sex-positive vibes.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58005-498-0

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013


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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