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SOLITO

A MEMOIR

Beautifully wrought work that renders the migrant experience into a vivid, immediately accessible portrayal.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2022


  • New York Times Bestseller

The harrowing journey of a 9-year-old Salvadoran boy through Guatemala and Mexico to rejoin his parents in the U.S.

Being the child of migrants is not unusual in the small town of La Herradura, El Salvador, where Zamora’s relatives regularly disappeared with the local coyote, Don Dago, to try their luck gaining entry into the U.S. When Zamora was 5, his mother left to join his father, who had left when he was 1, in America. The author opens his engaging narrative in 1999: Don Dago has agreed that the boy is ready for the trip to join his family. At the time, Zamora was living with his grandparents and aunts and excelling in school. He was overjoyed at the prospect of reuniting with his parents yet unaware of the many dangers of the arduous trek. Zamora traveled within a small, tightknit group of migrants through Guatemala, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. The author, now a poet who has been both a Stegner and Radcliffe fellow, meticulously re-creates his tense, traumatic journey, creating a page-turning narrative that reads like fiction. Sprinkling Spanish words and phrases throughout, Zamora fashions fully fleshed portraits of his fellow travelers—e.g., a protective mother and her daughter and a variety of men who assumed leadership responsibilities—as they navigated buses and boats, packing into a single room in motels, passing through checkpoints (not always successfully), and walking for days in the desert with little food or water. Along the way, the migrants, most of them desperately trying to reach their families in the U.S., also had to learn Mexican words and change their accents in order to remain inconspicuous and avoid the dreaded La Migra, which “has helicopters. They have trucks. They have binoculars that can see in the dark. I want our own helicopter to fight against La Migra. To shoot those bad gringos making us scared.”

Beautifully wrought work that renders the migrant experience into a vivid, immediately accessible portrayal.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-49806-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Hogarth

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

THE WOMAN IN ME

Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

A heartfelt memoir from the pop superstar.

Spears grew up with an alcoholic father, an exacting mother, and a fear of disappointing them both. She also displayed a natural talent for singing and dancing and a strong work ethic. Spears is grateful for the adult professionals who helped her get her start, but the same can’t be said of her peers. When she met Justin Timberlake, also a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel’s updated Mickey Mouse Club, the two formed an instant bond. Spears describes her teenage feelings for Timberlake as “so in love with him it was pathetic,” and she’s clearly angry about the rumors and breakup that followed. This tumultuous period haunted her for years. Out of many candidates for villains of the book, Timberlake included, perhaps the worst are the careless journalists of the late 1990s and early 2000s, who indulged Timberlake while vilifying Spears. The cycle repeated for years, taking its toll on her mental health. Spears gave birth to sons Sean Preston and Jayden James within two years, and she describes the difficulties they all faced living in the spotlight. The author writes passionately about how custody of her boys and visits with them were held over her head, and she recounts how they were used to coerce her to make decisions that weren’t always in her best interest. As many readers know, conservancy followed, and for 13 years, she toured, held a residency in Las Vegas, and performed—all while supposedly unable to take care of herself, an irony not lost on her. Overall, the book is cathartic, though readers who followed her 2021 trial won’t find many revelations, and many of the other newsworthy items have been widely covered in the run-up to the book’s release.

Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781668009048

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

MY NAME IS BARBRA

What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star.

When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long—but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, “It’s not just the gift, it’s the willingness to take infinite pains.” The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has—including her mother’s scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer—into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand’s spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn’t want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: “Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential.”

What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780525429524

Page Count: 992

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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