Although this book may help others going through the heartbreak of addiction, readers may wonder whether it is helpful to...

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LOVING AMY

A MOTHER'S STORY

Winehouse’s candid memoir of life with her award-winning, bestselling, hugely talented, and desperately troubled daughter, Amy Winehouse (1983-2011).

Fans of the star and her music will snap this book up and read it from cover to cover in a couple of days. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the stratospheric success of the musician, her publicly played-out drug and alcohol addictions, and her untimely death at the age of 27. The main narrative is sandwiched between a prologue and epilogue, adding to the sense of the drama it contains. This is a story already told from the perspective of her father, Mitch Winehouse, and recounted in various biographies and, recently, in the acclaimed documentary about her, Amy (2015). In the epilogue, the author makes clear that one of the reasons for writing this book, despite Amy asking her not to write such a book, was a desire to bring out the truth. It’s certainly questionable whether this is the whole truth. What this book does provide is the author’s perspective of life with her daughter as she grew up: “Amy was one of those rare people who made an impact. Right from the very beginning, when she was a toddler, she was loud and boisterous and scared and sensitive. She was a bundle of emotions, at times adorable and at times unbearable. All this is consistent with the struggle she went through to overcome the addictions that eventually robbed her of her life.” The author offers some delightful and illuminating moments from her daughter’s life, but it is hard not to wonder whose record is being set straight. Unfortunately, much of the narrative is a depressing account of Amy’s illness and addictions rather than a celebration of her whole life.

Although this book may help others going through the heartbreak of addiction, readers may wonder whether it is helpful to the legacy of Amy Winehouse herself.

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07849-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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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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