Sensitive without being overly sentimental.



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


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...


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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