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

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED

A MEMOIR

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. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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