An uplifting testimonial to the power of unconditional familial love and acceptance.

RAISING RYLAND

OUR STORY OF PARENTING A TRANSGENDER CHILD WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED

A new family must regroup after their toddler exhibits gender ambivalence.

Whittington, a mother of two, poignantly chronicles the transformative journey of Ryland, her young son who was born female. On his first birthday, the author’s son was diagnosed as deaf. A year later, the child received cochlear implants to enable hearing and speech capability. Then, after expressing tomboy inclinations and masculine bathroom traits, he tearfully announced, “I’m a boy.” Initially distressed, the family viewed the issue as much more than just a toddler phase and slowly began adapting to the fact that their daughter truly identified as a boy in every way. When their second daughter, Brynley, was born, they came to terms with their transgendered son. Both the author and her husband struggled with the critical next steps in Ryland’s upbringing, his gender identity, and childhood development, while their greatest “fears came from how the world would view our child.” The road was arduous, yet it began with a simple haircut and proper pronoun use. Amid the years of “private turmoil” and Ryland’s many expected (and unexpected) challenges with school and societal rejection, the Whittingtons proactively educated themselves, posted videos online, and emerged as a consistently supportive and nurturing unit. Sensitively handled and written in breezy prose that doesn’t linger too long on the expository details of their ordeal, the author sets a fine example for other parents either imagining or personally experiencing a similar situation. Believing their joint understanding and acceptance of Ryland will result in a blissful childhood, the Whittingtons have truly afforded their son the opportunity to “grow up with the chance to cultivate the same self-love and confidence to which every child has the right when he or she is born.”

An uplifting testimonial to the power of unconditional familial love and acceptance.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238888-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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 20, 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...

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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