A charming and witty memoir; required reading for fashion aficionados.

I.M.

A MEMOIR

The dynamic life of iconic fashion designer Mizrahi (b. 1961).

Growing up in Brooklyn in a Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, where he stood out “like a chubby gay thumb,” Mizrahi was considered artistic from an early age. Though his father worked in the clothing industry, their relationship was one of mutual indifference. The author was more fascinated with his mother, Sarah, and they bonded over long conversations on style and culture. In his late teens, he came out to her, which strained their relationship, yet the disclosure would become just one of many defining moments in the author’s life. With an amiable, conversational flow, Mizrahi shares anecdotes ranging from childhood public shaming, which heightened his self-awareness, to breakthrough moments when his appreciation of sartorial elegance became a calling that would escort him from Parsons School of Design to stints with Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein. Nights out at Studio 54 and designing for Liza Minnelli led to more hobnobbing with celebrities. Embedded into the memoir’s chronological narrative are pages of opinion and critique on the fashion world and how Mizrahi’s career choice has influenced the rest of his life. He writes frankly about necessity, sacrifice, and the struggle between his personal life and his desire to wholly immerse himself in the fashion industry: “the harder we worked and the more devoted we were to fashion, the further we all seemed to get from our own sex lives—and the more we used fashion as a diversion from deeper, more meaningful things.” He also contributes thoughts on darker times: his father’s death, mourning the devastating number of “fashion glitterati” lost to AIDS, and his battles with chronic insomnia, anxiety, and depression. His unpredictable courtship of his husband, Arnold, reads like a Hollywood love story. The key to the warmth and overall success of the memoir is Mizrahi’s unapologetic, bare-all approach as he shares the best and worst aspects of his life, all of which helped mold him into the fashion powerhouse he has become today.

A charming and witty memoir; required reading for fashion aficionados.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-07408-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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