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A smart, pocket-sized delight that artfully engages the funny bone.

A New York City–based author, mother of three and cancer survivor delivers an outspoken mix of sass and sensibility.

Magazine feature writer and novelist Kargman (The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, 2009, etc.) truly believes that laughter is the best medicine and, at 36, is happy to share her self-deprecating brand of wisdom. She explains why baked goods, texting and the smell of gasoline are so personally enticing, as opposed to the repulsive qualities of vans, mimes (“I’m so talkative that the mute thing alone wigs me out”), Don Henley and the wacky au pairs entrusted to babysit during her childhood. Life has been adventuresome so far, Kargman admits, from her days as an outcast at a Connecticut boarding school to the irate, micromanaging boss at a pop-culture magazine who aimed a tape dispenser at her head. But her self-doubts pale in comparison to the confusion and humility experienced after being diagnosed with skin cancer at 35. There’s also tenderness in the unexpected blind date (arranged by her grandmother Ruth) with a “beyond-adorable, scruffy nugget” named Harry who would become her husband and the father of her children. Some laughs pop with snappy sarcasm while others veer into racy, stand-up comedienne material like sections on Jewish Passover Seders and a midlife crisis–inspired tattoo and handgun license. These over-the-top moments are leavened with more focused playfulness, as when the author writes of her solidarity with gay men, the agony of natural childbirth (“having a bowling ball cruise through a straw”), her disenchantment with office work or, after the birth of her first daughter, the co-mingling sessions with “a breed of hypercompetitive type-A mothers” known as “Momzillas.” Cute, rudimentary line drawings pepper a narrative that will incite nods of agreement as Kargman writes that “the ones who live the best obviously aren’t the ones with the most money or most successful careers; they’re the ones who laugh the most.”

A smart, pocket-sized delight that artfully engages the funny bone.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-200719-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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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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