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REALIZED DREAM

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY: PART ONE

A stirring ode to education and determination.

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A successful developer and businessman recounts his upbringing in Jamaica in this autobiography.

As the book’s title suggests, Prince has obtained the dream of his Jamaican family. With multiple degrees from two of the English-speaking Caribbean’s most prestigious colleges, Prince served as a community developer in his home country for nearly two decades before moving to Canada to work in the automotive industry. The founder of an educational foundation focused on providing support for Jamaicans, Prince has long seen education as the vehicle for both individual and national progress. This autobiography, the first volume in a multipart series, explores his early life, providing a rags-to-riches narrative that emphasizes the importance of learning to self-advancement. While the author’s educational feats play a central role in the book, from its opening narrative set at his college graduation to its final chapter documenting his prowess as president of his school’s chess club, the book also emphasizes the role of family and community. “Just because someone cared, because someone prayed,” he reflects, considering the sacrifices made by his grandaunt to ensure he could succeed in school, “because of love, because of family—my story continued.” While proud of his accomplishments, the author never self-aggrandizes as he works to instill ideas of national pride, racial dignity, and Black self-help in young, Caribbean readers. Toward this end, the book makes ample references to Afro-Caribbean and African American history, highlighting the triumphs of Black icons from Marcus Garvey to Barack Obama. The author of the Runkus Black Trilogy, a series of YA novels that feature inspirational stories of Black athletes, Prince writes in an engaging style that buoys his encouraging message. The book’s commitment to accessibility is evidenced by the inclusion of full-color family photographs throughout. While the text’s religiosity may not appeal to all readers (as a Christian, the author frequently references the power of prayer, belief in Jesus, and the importance of faith to his success), readers who share Prince’s spiritual inclinations will be particularly drawn to his book’s message of hope.

A stirring ode to education and determination.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2024

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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