Occasionally entertaining yet featherweight capers of an overweight woman trying to be cheery and carefree through her...

How one woman tackled some of the things on her mid-40s bucket list.

For fans of Lancaster’s (Twisted Sisters, 2014, etc.) particular brand of humor, she’s back in full swing with another memoir full of embarrassing moments, comments about her size and weight, and general midlife-crisis events triggered by realizing she has turned 46 and should create a list of things to accomplish before she dies. “As enamored as I am with the idea of listing and then finally scratching some long-standing itches, a part of this idea feels off,” she writes. “Essentially, I’m figuring out what I’d like to accomplish before I ‘kick the bucket,’ which means I’m definitely going to die. Not a fan.” From this point of view, Lancaster prepares her list, starting with a new playlist of music since she had been listening to the same bands for 30 years. The author meanders through a variety of escapades: learning to ride an adult tricycle, studying Italian, traveling to Italy, finding a new hobby, confronting her weight issues and compulsive eating habits, etc. She discusses her dogs, her husband, her friends, her dysfunctional body parts, a possible chance to meet and talk face to face with Martha Stewart, the challenge of doing juice cleanses—basically, just about anything that comes to mind she approaches with the same attitude: somewhat funny, quick, and lighthearted, reminiscent of sitcom humor but lacking any real substance or grit. Readers may laugh in the moment, but the punch line doesn’t carry over in a retelling. For pure entertainment of the lightest fluff, Lancaster is sure to please her many devoted readers; for those looking for words of wisdom on how a woman can navigate the 40-to-50 decade with dignity, while still having fun, they should search elsewhere for sustenance.

Occasionally entertaining yet featherweight capers of an overweight woman trying to be cheery and carefree through her middle-age years.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-47107-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015



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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