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The painful story of a Wichita, Kansas, woman who learns through psychotherapy that the homicidal maniac stalking her resides in her subconscious self, a product of repressed, long- buried memories of sexual child abuse. With her full cooperation, journalist Stone recounts Ruth Finley's life from the day in 1977 when she received the first nasty phone call to June 1988, when she attended her last therapy session. Finley's husband, Ed, had gone into the hospital at about the time a Kansas serial killer resurfaced. According to her analyst, Dr. Andrew Pickens, those events jarred Finley's subconscious into creating ``the Poet,'' a vicious man who harassed her for the next several years by letter and phone, who threw eggs at her house and left all manner of things on her porch—rocks, feces, a red bandanna, a Molotov cocktail. He cut her phone lines and accosted her on the street and at the mall. Then, in November 1978, Finley reported that she was abducted by two men who took her paycheck and other items. She got away, but on another occasion, the Poet attacked her in a mall parking lot, stabbing her repeatedly. She managed to escape and drove home with the knife still stuck in her side and one of the assailant's gloves hanging from a window. All very real to Ruth Finley, but police chief Richard LaMunyon doubted her stories; his department had kept her and ``the Poet'' under surveillance for years, without result. (LaMunyon still contends that Finley was fully cognizant of her actions and therefore criminally liable.) Finley began intensive therapy with Dr. Pickens, who suspected that she suffered from a ``dissociative disorder,'' divorcing her conscious self from painful experience. Through therapy, Finley allowed ``negative memories of her childhood to slip out.'' Referring to herself as that ``little girl,'' she brings forth recollections of brutal sexual assaults by an unnamed neighbor when she was three years old. Stone's evenhanded, serious treatment of this material keeps it from being unbearable or cheaply sensational. (8 pages b&w photos—not seen)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-78085-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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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

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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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