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New York Times managing editor Abramson (co-author: Obama: The Historic Journey, 2009, etc.) chronicles her experience raising a boisterous new puppy.

Culled from the author’s Times blog series, the book charts her journey from apprehension about a new pup to delight in her newest family member. In the wake of losing a much-beloved pet and on the heels of a difficult injury that left her unsteady on her feet, Abramson and her husband finally decided to welcome a new puppy, Scout, and her nearly boundless energy into their lives. Scout’s gradual and difficult transition from country life to the bustling streets of Tribeca brought new challenges for all concerned: puppy day care, advanced leash instruction and making friends (both human and canine) at the neighborhood dog park. Yet despite Abramson’s delight in Scout, the narrative suffers from an identity crisis. If the book is a memoir, it lacks depth of insight and analysis about the dog-human relationship. If it is a training manual, the author provides woefully few details about specific skills that can strengthen both a dog’s mind and the relationship between animal and human. It may be best categorized as a lifestyle book, as it provides a glimpse into a small window of modern dog ownership: wealthy, American baby boomers. Indeed, writes the author, “there is no Official Puppy Handbook for fifty-somethings,” but this flourishing community of new owners have unique concerns about raising and caring for their dogs. Scout appears to be a lovable dog, but much of the fun of new dog ownership is overshadowed by the author’s persistent cadence of anxieties about puppyhood.


Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9342-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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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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