Sensitive without being overly sentimental.

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THE CAT WHO CAME BACK FOR CHRISTMAS

HOW A CAT BROUGHT A FAMILY THE GIFT OF LOVE

The heartwarming story of a working-class single mother, her autistic son and the stray cat who brought them together as a family.

Pet rescuer Romp was 22 and unmarried when she gave birth to her son, George. She knew he was different from the outset—restless and always screaming, he “seemed almost tormented by life.” Feeling bewildered by her son's bizarre anti-social behaviors and guilty that she couldn't give him a two-parent home, Romp became even more exasperated by the assurances others gave her that George would eventually adjust. It wasn't until her son was 10, however, that the school psychologists confirmed that George was not only autistic, but also had “ADHD and paranoid tendencies.” The diagnosis allowed him to get the help he needed, but doctors warned Romp that George would never be a “cuddly boy.” Salvation for both mother and son came shortly thereafter in the form of a “thin and sickly” stray cat named Ben. Although George had never been able to bond with other animals, he formed an intense relationship with Ben. Almost immediately, George began speaking to it in a gentle voice, which gave Romp a glimpse of her son’s unseen emotional depths. The cat became Romp's key to accessing the closeness she desired with her son, which she achieved by joining him in the narrative world he built around Ben. But when their beloved pet suddenly went missing, her relationship with George was tested. Fortunately, she found the cat a few days before Christmas. More importantly, though, she discovered that while her family of three wasn't the most conventional, it “didn't make it any less of one.”

Sensitive without being overly sentimental. 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-452-29878-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Plume

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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