Lauren’s writing is brave and honest, and she calls out hypocrisy wherever she sees it and shines a light on the challenges...

Exploring how we see identity through the process of adoption.

Readers of Lauren’s Some Girls (2010) need no introduction to bring them up to speed for her second memoir. In her first book, she chronicled how, at age 18, she turned to stripping and prostitution when her efforts at acting weren’t moving forward. She learned of a unique audition, and that led to a “role” in the harem of a Brunei prince. The end of that book provided a tidy wrap-up of where she’d landed—married to the bass player from Weezer and the adoptive mother of a boy from Ethiopia—that suggested, perhaps inadvertently, smooth sailing from there forward. Not so, as we find in this second memoir, which rewinds the story a bit to pick up before her marriage and tell how their relationship started, their early time together, and their efforts to conceive a child. Lauren’s writing takes the shine off of the happily-ever-after of conceiving. She writes of feeling convinced, over and over, that each month was going to be “the one,” only to sink deeper into disappointment. She also found herself filled with questions about her own fitness to serve the roles through which she came to identify herself: a wife, a mother, a daughter. She recalls trying to cover her tattoos, stop swearing, and maintain an endlessly cheerful attitude, expecting herself to be judged during the adoption process, only to uncover her own prejudices. The author also recounts the challenges of adopting a child who has suffered significant trauma, the family shunning that came as a result of her previous memoir, and the enormous struggle to get help for their son.

Lauren’s writing is brave and honest, and she calls out hypocrisy wherever she sees it and shines a light on the challenges faced during the adoption process.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-14-218163-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Plume

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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