A middle-aged, male Bridget Jones survives cancer and seeks his soul mate.

OUT OF THE RABBIT HOLE AND INTO LIFE

In Bankfarm’s memoir, he describes his life as a newly divorced banker who entered the world of online dating and was diagnosed with melanoma and successfully survived both ordeals.

When Bankfarm’s children were young adults, he and his wife realized they’d grown apart, and they divorced. He discovered online dating and approached it “like a twenty-five-year-old with a fifty-five-year-old’s budget, a dangerous combination.” The dating site connected him with a woman named Susan, but she was apprehensive after her own divorce and canceled their date. Finally meeting face to face, the two enjoyed being with each other and fell in love. Bankfarm visited the dermatologist about a spot on his hand that ended up being merely a bruise, but that “pimple” on his arm was malignant melanoma. The book explores his struggle with loneliness as much as his struggle with cancer. A man of faith, he consulted God, a psychic and others in an attempt to keep Sue in his life. At times, it’s disturbing to read of his overzealous efforts to woo her; Sue made it clear on several occasions she no longer wanted to see him. About a third of the way in, the author switches abruptly from the modern era to the past and shares his autobiography. Raised by an alcoholic father, he bought a car and left home as soon as possible. He entered college, partied too much and joined the Army Reserves. Afterward, he got a job in finance and advanced in the banking industry before returning to college. Bankfarm is a likable man who worked hard to get where he is today. He’s refreshingly honest about the screw-ups he’s made along the way, and his story is rarely dull. It’s touching to read some of the emotions he shares, at times wondering who will care for him and how his finances will fare. This is simple, straightforward prose from a man grateful to be alive.

A middle-aged, male Bridget Jones survives cancer and seeks his soul mate.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500472214

Page Count: 202

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2014

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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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