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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A potent depiction of grief, but also a book lacking the originality and acerbic prose that distinguished Didion’s earlier...

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

  • National Book Award Winner

  • National Book Critics Circle Finalist

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING

A moving record of Didion’s effort to survive the death of her husband and the near-fatal illness of her only daughter.

In late December 2003, Didion (Where I Was From, 2003, etc.) saw her daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne, hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia, the lingering effects of which would threaten the young woman’s life for several months to come. As her daughter struggled in a New York ICU, Didion’s husband, John Gregory Dunne, suffered a massive heart attack and died on the night of December 30, 2003. For 40 years, Didion and Dunne shared their lives and work in a marriage of remarkable intimacy and endurance. In the wake of Dunne’s death, Didion found herself unable to accept her loss. By “magical thinking,” Didion refers to the ruses of self-deception through which the bereaved seek to shield themselves from grief—being unwilling, for example, to donate a dead husband’s clothes because of the tacit awareness that it would mean acknowledging his final departure. As a poignant and ultimately doomed effort to deny reality through fiction, that magical thinking has much in common with the delusions Didion has chronicled in her several previous collections of essays. But perhaps because it is a work of such intense personal emotion, this memoir lacks the mordant bite of her earlier work. In the classics Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968) and The White Album (1979), Didion linked her personal anxieties to her withering dissection of a misguided culture prey to its own self-gratifying fantasies. This latest work concentrates almost entirely on the author’s personal suffering and confusion—even her husband and daughter make but fleeting appearances—without connecting them to the larger public delusions that have been her special terrain.

A potent depiction of grief, but also a book lacking the originality and acerbic prose that distinguished Didion’s earlier writing.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2005

ISBN: 1-4000-4314-X

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more