The fascinating memoir of a true Hollywood mogul that traces his life from Brooklyn to Warner Brothers.

THE MAN WHO CREATED HALLOWEEN

An account of Halloween creator Yablans’ rise from a hardscrabble childhood in Brooklyn to the upper echelons of the studio system in Hollywood where he would help change the way movies are made.

During World War II, Yablans grew up in roach-infested, cramped apartments in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which was largely inhabited by second-generation Jews escaping the teeming ghettos of the Lower East Side. It was a close-knit community by necessity and Yablans, like so many of his background, was encouraged not to have high expectations. Working in the garment district and then in backbreaking labor at the Navy Yard, he escaped the hellish monotony by joining the army and upon discharge, took up an offer to work in sales at Warner Brothers. Yablans had a learning disability that had confounded his teachers because he was innately bright, so he dropped out of high school. Given a chance at Warner, he committed himself wholeheartedly to work. Moving through the ranks at the studio, he eventually wound up in Los Angeles with his brother, Frank, following. Frank would become president of Paramount Pictures and a golden child for a time, and Irwin would eventually shake up the studio system and forge ahead with independent films, pioneering his own studio. With Halloween, he helped launch the career of John Carpenter and created a horror classic. Yablans shows us the film industry from the business end, where the point is the bottom line and where shark-infested political dealings are routine. He paints a portrait of a cutthroat but exciting world of unimaginable wealth, struggle and movie stars where dreams are the product sold to the world at large. Although there are many poignant moments beneath the nuts-and-bolts insights into the business of movies, Yablans also can be brutally frank, noting a “bulbous nose” or character flaw, and is as much a player as anyone. When the film The Message resulted in 149 people being held as hostages by black Muslim extremists and several deaths, Yablans rode the crest by increasing the film’s circulation in theaters across the country. Essentially, it is an entertaining and captivating story of a spirited man of humble roots who attained even his most unimaginable dreams, including a stint as a competitive cowboy, and helped usher in a new era of films.

The fascinating memoir of a true Hollywood mogul that traces his life from Brooklyn to Warner Brothers. (27 pages of b/w photographs)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478105268

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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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