This engaging tribute should ring a bittersweet bell with many baby boomers whose aging parents are dying.

NEVER SIT IF YOU CAN DANCE

LESSONS FROM MY MOTHER, BABE

In this memoir, a journalist shares life lessons she learned from her colorful mother.

Back in the 1970s, Giese (A Woman’s Path, 1998, etc.) felt “sorely disappointed” with her stay-at-home mother. Describing herself as a “seventies-bell-bottom-wearing, Ms. magazine-writing daughter,” the author hoped she would never be like her mom, who spent countless hours embroidering dish towels. When Giese was in her 50s, however, she looked in her closet and recognized that her clothing was very much like her mom’s. The author also realized it was not such a bad thing to be like her parent, who lived life to the fullest. Very ladylike, Giese’s mom loved to wear ruffled blouses in the ’70s yet she hosted boozy, late-night dance parties and was an amazing arm wrestler (she always won). She unconventionally asked her daughter to call her Babe because she didn’t like her given name, Gladys. And with all that embroidering, Babe transformed her daughter’s bell-bottoms into hip, flowery fashion statements that rivaled designer brands. Painting a vivid portrait of a sometimes-contentious but always loving mother-daughter relationship, this spirited memoir is divided into 13 common-sense life lessons Babe taught, like “Don’t Be Drab,” “Never Leave a Compliment Unsaid,” and “Thank-You Notes Are Never Too Plentiful.” Giese’s prose is lively, and though the entire book can be read in a couple of hours, it’s brimming with entertaining anecdotes. For example, there was the time when the author and her family moved from Seattle to Houston, and Babe had them playing games during a hurricane. “Sometimes Life Begins Again At Ninety-Five” recalls energetic Babe moving to a seniors’ community and becoming the life of the party. Many of Babe’s lessons are wise; in “Go! While You Can,” she urged her daughter to travel while she was still physically able. At almost 98, Babe gave a heartbreaking final lesson—she showed her kids how to die with dignity. Despite describing painful episodes (Babe suffered five miscarriages), Giese’s account is mostly upbeat, as she celebrates her mom’s unique personality and fulfilling life.

This engaging tribute should ring a bittersweet bell with many baby boomers whose aging parents are dying.

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-533-9

Page Count: 142

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more