A provocative sojourn through the wilderness of sexual addiction.

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GETTING OFF

ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY THROUGH SEX AND PORN ADDICTION

A sex addict’s bracing chronicle of erotic dependency.

Essayist Garza’s memoir begins in bed, where she is having sex with a man she neither knows well nor particularly cares for. This scene sets the tone for a narrative that never deviates from its intent to educate and engross readers with the random sexual escapades and private pains of a woman at the mercy of her addiction. What the author thrived upon was “an elaborate mix of shame and sexual excitement I had come to depend on since I was twelve.” She shares that her first source of shame manifested in her mediocre family life in Los Angeles, where she was raised Catholic with a mortgage broker father and a moody mother. Garza retreated into TV and video games and didn’t begin sexually fantasizing until she was barely a teenager, when her parents announced they were expecting another child. The author’s raging hormones feasted on Cinemax soft-core porn, then dial-up cybersex, and, later, high-speed internet porn, which became an obsession and a balm for her burgeoning social anxiety. She describes her high school years and her 20s through the many men with whom she had sex. Moving to Hawaii, she was ever eager to promote herself as an “adventurous, insatiable vixen always down to fuck,” with shame being the common aftereffect. At 30, Garza’s pursuit of sexual gratification became “darker and more intense” until she finally realized how much her robust and seemingly robotic sex life was damaging not only interpersonal relationships, but also the relationship she enjoyed with herself: “I prioritized the satisfaction of sexual release over everything else screaming inside of me Please stop.” A combination of therapy and prescription drugs proved only a short-term remedy; life forced Garza to cope once she found herself in love and on the threshold of marriage. Though exquisitely visceral and written with genuine emotion, the author’s fascinating odyssey ends too abruptly, lacking some of the curative details readers will be expecting.

A provocative sojourn through the wilderness of sexual addiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6337-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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