Carney will easily win sympathy for his life, in which he has persevered to show others the hard work of his salvation.

STARVE THE VULTURE

A MEMOIR

National Poetry Slam finalist Carney’s memoir of his troubled upbringing, drug addiction and eventual grace.

Addicts often refer to a moment of epiphany, when, at their lowest point, they experience a feeling of clarity that puts their disease into perspective. The author vividly describes his moment as a fortuitous brush with death, when, after bingeing on crack, he was driving with a prostitute and a car careened out of control, almost crashing into him at high speed. Dazed, Carney helped the other driver and noticed a crack pipe in his pocket. That man, tossed from his vehicle but seemingly unhurt, could have been him. So begins Carney’s tale of redemption, which is told through time-traveling vignettes that alternate between his fraught childhood and adolescence and the manic, drug-addled events immediately leading to his moment of “grace.” There is a sense of self-indulgence in Carney’s recollections of his lurid self-destruction, but his memory serves to contrast the extremes of his depravity with a newfound meaning in life. If addicts need an excuse to justify their excess, Carney’s list would probably dwarf most. Growing up, his family life was classically dysfunctional. He had a teenage mother and abusive father and teenage years of delinquency, homophobia and criminal apprenticeship. Behind all that, however, was a love of words and reading. Carney even fondly recalls his first encounter with poetry in which he smuggled a book out of the school library after checkout time had ended, later thinking after his first marriage ended after nine months, the “only relationship I believed I needed was with poetry.” His dedication to poetry would lead him to four National Poetry Slam finals and speaking gigs at colleges to decry the types of bigotry and hate that had led him astray.

Carney will easily win sympathy for his life, in which he has persevered to show others the hard work of his salvation.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1617753015

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Kaylie Jones/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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