As these essays ably show, Union is a dynamic role model for young Black women in all walks of life.

YOU GOT ANYTHING STRONGER?

STORIES

The star actor and producer demonstrates her dedication to empowering young Black women and other marginalized people.

Union and her husband, former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, are a Black American celebrity couple the media loves to follow. In the first and longest essay, “Loved Even as a Thought,” the author chronicles the couple’s pregnancy via surrogacy. Although Union first considered their decision to use a gestational carrier a “walk away from home plate,” the strategy paid off with the birth of Kaavia James. The Hollywood veteran is candid in her admission that, ultimately, she was a “character actress” in her daughter’s “one-woman show.” In the rest of the book, Union offers her takes on Hollywood parties, auditions, family dramas, and “how-to” advice for making it in “the industry” for aspiring young people of color. Regarding feedback, she writes, “Examine it and decide what you’re gonna take and what you’re gonna discard.” The author also writes charmingly and instructively about the many “bonding stepmother-stepdaughter moments” she has shared with her gender-nonconforming stepdaughter, and she shares an entertaining anecdote about inadvertently getting on Janet Jackson’s bad side—but don’t worry, Janet is now “the friend who reminds me to set my clocks back.” Union exposes gender problems in work life (“Balance is a lie” since the system “is rigged against women”) and rails against blackface and blackfishing, which entails non-Black people “stealing the looks and features of Blackness for profit.” While recounting the devastating rape she suffered when she was 19, the author describes how she found recovery and emotional support through watching Black Olympians triumph in the 1992 Summer Olympic. “I needed a lifeline,” she writes, “and what I saw was unapologetic Black stardom and perseverance.” Throughout, Black excellence is cast as the antidote to racism and other societal poisons.

As these essays ably show, Union is a dynamic role model for young Black women in all walks of life.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297993-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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