Funny, frothy and fabulous.

Mall-rat moves to the city, becomes a Rock Chick, then rediscovers her inner nerd.

In high school, the author sported “a perm that was extreme even by mideighties New Jersey standards, rendering my hair as dense and impenetrable as a boxwood hedge.” She dreamed of a glamorous life, but as she entered adulthood, it seemed the world had anything but glamour in store for her. After dropping out of the University of Delaware, Dunn moved in with her parents and went to work as a fact-checker for an ad agency. This was the kind of job to which a gal wore a plaid suit with giant shoulder pads, a string tie and a hairspray helmet. Bored stiff, Dunn leapt at a chance to interview for an editorial-assistant post at Rolling Stone. Charming the higher-ups with her decided lack of Ivy League polish, she got the gig and soon had her own byline. With the new job came a fantasy urban life: countless men, countless clubs, not to mention Ray Charles serenading her in an elevator and Christian Aguilera sending her a bouquet of flowers. Eventually, though, Dunn realized that this ultra-cool existence was not for her. She began hanging out with her mom and spending most nights in her apartment watching documentaries. Despite the unwieldy subtitle and the distracting how-to-interview-a-celebrity interludes, this debut memoir isn’t really about working at Rolling Stone. It’s about becoming acquainted with, and accepting, your true self. Dunn is a master of character development, capturing the essence of a person in just a few, well-chosen details, and she deftly deploys dialogue. Indeed, her prose transforms the predictable plotline of the last 100 pages—as her sisters and friends churn out babies, Dunn dates many losers, and her biological clock ticks ever louder—into something magical.

Funny, frothy and fabulous.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-084364-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2006


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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