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

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 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview