A vividly rhythmic chronicle of reconciliation couched with a 1960s rock-’n’-roll soundtrack.

DON'T LET ME DOWN

A MEMOIR

A successful literary agent recounts her life and especially her relationship with her father, who was “a mass of contradictions: a pacifist and a tyrant, an optimist with demons, a hippie and a conservative, a proud father and jerk, and a boy and a man.”

Hosier (co-author: Hit So Hard, 2017) has long dealt with unresolved “daddy issues,” but she thought she had tucked the baggage neatly away—that is, until her mother sold the family home and, salvaging the last few childhood relics, the author dug out a Beatles-heavy stack of inherited records. After that opening scene, Hosier proceeds to detail her life story, one closely intertwined with her father, who reared the household on the entire Fab Four canon. “The Beatles records…had provided the soundtrack to our lives and seen us through every great joy and tragedy,” she writes. “Dad and I used those songs to both connect with and escape from each other, to both understand and rebel against each other.” Titled with songs from “Blackbird” to “Hey Jude,” each chapter reveals chronological milestones that shaped the author’s coming-of-age in rural 1980s Ohio. Underneath what seemed an idyllic “Here Comes the Sun” childhood stirred a controlling father who became increasingly volatile. Eventually, writes Hosier, life became “the anxiety of constantly walking on eggshells, the need for order and control, [and] the impulse to try to save others while losing [myself].” Permeated with events like church boot camp and school graduations, the narrative is near cinematic with insights about gender roles, love, and sex gained through experiences involving her parents, romantic relationships, God, and rock music. Struggling through a host of various traumas both minor and major, her mother’s inability to break free, and her father’s battle with cancer and eventual death, Hosier delivers a memoir that is less about chasing an identity and more about having one cast upon her and coming to terms with it.

A vividly rhythmic chronicle of reconciliation couched with a 1960s rock-’n’-roll soundtrack.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4495-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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 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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