Instead of crashing and burning, Bateman has found a life outside the maelstrom, ably described in this sharp,...

FAME

THE HIJACKING OF REALITY

Now in her early 50s, the actress best known as a teenager on Family Ties lashes back at the distortions and toxicity of celebrity-obsessed culture.

Bateman insists from the outset that she has no interest in writing a memoir, though the narrative draws from her experiences and particularly from the emotions that those experiences elicited. Neither is it the book she originally intended to write, one that would have had more distance between the author and her subject and relied more on theory and research concerning the topic. There is still some of that here, reflecting the college education she pursued in her mid-40s, but “instead of the academic version I had already half-completed, [this is] rather a cut-to-the-bone, emotional-river-of-Fame book.” Bateman has no filter, whether she’s describing how it felt to be introduced to male fans who had masturbated to her photos or fending off the fathers who asked for autographs for their daughters while simultaneously trying to hit on her. The author shows how things changed with reality TV (“the cancer of America”) and with the internet that made fame available to anyone and made the famous targets for armies of anonymous trolls. “You cut and gut and make them bleed,” she writes about those who slam her online. “Type, type, peck.” And then they type, and she bleeds all over these pages, as if the passage of time and the maturity of decades can’t heal the hurt that she experienced when she went from very famous to not-so-famous and from young and thin to older and heavier. In almost stream-of-consciousness fashion, she takes readers along for a ride that few are prepared to experience: “You’re 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; you don’t know shit. It’s all happening too fast, too fast to do anything about. You’re doing school, the show, then this Fame. Much too fast. Unmanageable. Can only lie down in the canoe and let the rapids pull you downstream.”

Instead of crashing and burning, Bateman has found a life outside the maelstrom, ably described in this sharp, take-no-prisoners book.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61775-660-3

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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