Sincere and uplifting stories of being a mother, a wife, and a career woman while juggling the responsibilities of being the...

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WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS

BUILDING A FAMILY, DISCOVERING MYSELF

A former second lady talks about her family, relationships, and career as an educator.

In this often poignant retelling, Biden shares some of the more meaningful moments of her life. She tells how she married when she was 18 and then divorced, an act that made her hesitant to enter into marriage again. But she was wooed by then Sen. Joe Biden and fell in love despite her previous failed marriage and fears of being a mother to two young boys. Throughout, the author discusses the importance of family and traditions, such as lighting candles for an evening meal or traveling to Nantucket for Thanksgiving, and of her prankster nature as a child and adult. She shares how the Bidens stand together as a united front in the face of adversity, something that has helped them through extremely difficult times, most significantly the death of Beau Biden from brain cancer in 2015. She explores her insecurities and introverted nature, two issues that made it difficult to be in the spotlight as the wife of a public figure. However, she was able to overcome these concerns in order to present speeches and provide support for her husband during his run for president and later when he became vice president during the Obama administration. The author also shows us her deep involvement with her students and the importance of having her own career and rewarding work with military families and the education of girls and women. Biden’s tone is conversational and partially confessional, an endearing quality. Through this personal disclosure, readers gain insight into the fortitude and courage it takes to be a woman with a career and a close-knit family, with the obligations that come with a life as the second lady.

Sincere and uplifting stories of being a mother, a wife, and a career woman while juggling the responsibilities of being the vice president’s wife.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-18232-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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