A searingly candid memoir.

A popular blogger’s tragicomic account of how early motherhood and marriage propelled her into a cycle of drug and alcohol addiction from which she narrowly escaped.

Hanchett, the creator of the Renegade Mothering blog, was a senior in college when she discovered that she was pregnant by Mac, a 19-year-old rancher’s son she had been dating for three months. Feeling she had let down a family that believed she would “do something impressive in life,” the author gave birth to a baby girl, married Mac, and settled into uneasy domesticity, which she made more manageable by “remain[ing] drunk about 40 percent of my waking hours.” Eventually diagnosed with postpartum depression, she tried to ease the tedium and isolation of stay-at-home life by taking a job as a receptionist. Instead, she found herself drinking more heavily and fighting with Mac, who drank in codependent solidarity with her. She left Mac and then returned and became pregnant again, vowing to make her family life work. Instead, she and Mac continued drinking and doing drugs together. After a psychiatrist diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder, Hanchett began what would become an ongoing search for a “rehab that would cure me.” But she found no relief. Her clinic stays became islands of temporary sobriety in a life that seemed to become increasingly dedicated to self-destruction. Her body and marriage on the verge of irrevocable collapse, the author unexpectedly found salvation in the counsel of a fellow recovering alcoholic she named “Good News Jack.” His brutal honesty forced Hanchett to realize that in order to rebuild her life, she had to let go of reason and put her faith in “the pulse holding the stars…[and] the thing that makes me alive beyond breath.” By turns painful and funny, the book explores the pressures of modern motherhood while chronicling one woman’s journey toward acceptance of her own limitations and imperfections.

A searingly candid memoir.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-50377-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


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

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