Will resonate with women readers of all ages, who, if they are dog lovers, will be doubly moved.

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LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME

A MEMOIR OF FRIENDSHIP

A Pulitzer Prize–winning author’s heartfelt memoir of her midlife friendship with a fellow writer.

Caldwell, then book-review editor for the Boston Globe, and Caroline Knapp, a columnist for the Boston Phoenix, connected in 1996, when their love of their dogs, Clementine and Lucille, brought them together in a meadow near Boston. Besides writing and dogs, the two women had much in common, including athleticism, health problems, a history of alcoholism and belief in the value of psychodynamic therapy. Caldwell, some eight or nine years older than Knapp, devotes a sizable chunk of this volume to an account of her long struggle with alcoholism and her recovery from it. Knapp had previously published a memoir titled Drinking: A Love Story. These two brainy, independent women, both somewhat introverted loners, spent hours outdoors together, walking, talking, exercising their beloved dogs, rowing and swimming. Knapp, a devoted rower, trained Caldwell in that skill, and Caldwell taught Knapp to become a good swimmer. Each admired the prowess of the other and strove to achieve it. When time allowed, they vacationed together, sometimes with Knapp’s boyfriend along, sometimes with just their loyal dogs. Caldwell writes with deep feeling, but without sentimentality, about the life-altering friendship they formed. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. In April 2002, Knapp was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, and less than two months later she died. The story of that final illness and of Caldwell’s grief at losing her best friend is a poignant and powerful.

Will resonate with women readers of all ages, who, if they are dog lovers, will be doubly moved.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6738-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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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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