A funny, frank, and fearless memoir.



A successful journalist’s account of how she came to terms with being a single woman over 40.

Feisty and independent, MacNicol (co-editor: The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women, 2014) had “taken herself from waitress to well-paid writer to business owner” in the span of 20 years. Now she was a glamorous Manhattanite with a wide circle of friends and access to famous and accomplished people. Yet as she neared 40, she realized she lacked two things society deemed necessary for female success: a man and a baby. In this sharp, intimate memoir, the author chronicles the eventful years following the 40th birthday that found her unattached and unsure about her path forward. Men walked in and out of her real and online lives as she traveled to offbeat locations for stories. While she still saw the women friends she had come to know during her 20s, responsibilities to partners, husbands, and children inevitably loosened ties. A close relationship to her married sister allowed her to witness firsthand the vagaries of matrimony and the rigors of parenting, while her housewife mother increasingly came to symbolize the life MacNicol “actively unwanted.” The contrast between the outcomes of her mother’s lifestyle and her own became especially clear as she witnessed her mother’s decline into dementia. The author became painfully aware that the choice to forge a life built around family was no safeguard to “being left alone” in the end and that, ultimately, “life was not a savings plan, accrued now for enjoyment later.” Moving through the years without a ready-made blueprint was a struggle, but one that had been “terrifying, and then exhausting, and then delightful.” Unapologetic in her embrace of the ups and downs of the improvised solo life, MacNicol offers a refreshing view of the possibilities—and pitfalls—personal freedom can offer modern women.

A funny, frank, and fearless memoir.

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6313-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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 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 19, 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...


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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