A more-misses-than-hits collection that will likely find a home in bathroom-reading bins.

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IF THE RAINDROPS UNITED

DRAWINGS AND CARTOONS

A comedian presents a series of drawings and cartoons, most of which “are comedy. But some are serious. Or just weird.”

Friedlander has been performing stand-up comedy since he was 19, but he is best known for his roles in American Splendor and on 30 Rock, in which he delivered a hilarious performance as oddball TV writer Frank Rossitano. The eccentricity and offbeat humor of that role are amply reflected in this short book, which features crudely drawn cartoons on a variety of subjects (jokes about genitalia and scenes from New York City both feature prominently). Most of the pieces are a single page, though some provide a brief story—e.g., the adventures of “Gentrification Man,” a “superhero for the rich and overprivileged who “stand[s] up for the rights of corporations.” The style and tone of these cartoons contain echoes of the Far Side, the drawings of Demetri Martin (particularly his 2011 book, This Is a Book), and some of the rougher pieces at The Oatmeal, but most of Friedlander’s cartoons are not as darkly clever as the Far Side or as laugh-out-loud funny as Martin’s. There are a few highlights, however: a panel showing two buildings, one labeled “Yoga” and the other “50 Dollar Cupcakes,” with the caption “Where to Meet Women in Manhattan”; “Novice Shopping Cart Thief,” with a picture of a man walking down the sidewalk carrying a shopping cart above his head; and “Goth Crayon Box,” a drawing of a large box of crayons with just one black crayon in it. Unfortunately, these are few and far between in a book that seems like a partial draft or a home sketchbook that will eventually become part of a more substantial work.

A more-misses-than-hits collection that will likely find a home in bathroom-reading bins.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-30695-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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