Candid, brave, and generous.




How a marital crisis became a catalyst for a painful but ultimately enlightening journey into the depths of the human heart.

Though raised by loving parents, Melton (Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, 2013) felt socially ill at ease and unworthy. At age 10, she found temporary release in the bulimic cycle of bingeing and purging. As a teenager, she hid her vulnerability behind a mask of trendiness and toughness, divorced her sexuality from all emotion, and began drinking. In college, she learned what she perceived to be the “rules” of female success: “thinness is beauty. Beauty is power. Power is Being Chosen by the Boys.” Melton found the popularity she desired but at the cost of becoming an alcoholic. When she met her future husband, Craig, he seemed the embodiment of the “wholesomeness and goldenness” that she felt would save her. The two wed after the author, who aborted their first child, became pregnant for the second time. Motherhood forced her to get her alcoholism and bulimia under control, but she felt lonely even with a family to care for and resentful toward Craig for imposing sex on her. After creating a successful blog and book that gave her truth-telling spaces she longed for, her world suddenly collapsed. Craig admitted to multiple infidelities, and the pair separated. During the course of therapy, the author realized that she had been seeking perfection in a man who was as needy and broken as she was. To become whole, each needed to own parts of themselves—Melton, the body, for Craig, the mind—they had disregarded. As the two gradually accepted their flaws and limitations, they learned to communicate more directly and honestly with each other. Though the memoir sometimes reads like a self-help book rather than a narrative, it nevertheless tells a compelling story about self-discovery and the nature of mature love.

Candid, brave, and generous.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07572-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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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...


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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