Sharp, courageous writing in a powerful memoir.

JOY RIDE

MY ONE-LEGGED JOURNEY TO SELF-ACCEPTANCE

A woman who had her right leg amputated as a child addresses her compulsions and her relationship with her body.

In 1959, Daly was diagnosed with bone cancer—she was 8 years old. By 11, she had experienced the trauma of having her right leg and pelvis amputated. The opening of her debut memoir recounts her early years, which initially were similar to those of most children growing up in New Jersey in the 1950s. The daughter of loving parents, she recalls simple delights, such as sticking her finger in the frosting of a cake or running to the bar across the road from the family’s Hoboken apartment to call her father home for dinner and being given peanuts by the bartender. Her life changed when she began to feel terrible aches in her right leg, which were first diagnosed as growing pains before the underlying cancer was found. After being referred to an orthopedic surgeon, she endured radiation treatment, with the added anguish of watching young cancer patients die. The account goes on to address how Daly dealt with life on her journey into adulthood following the amputation. Overeating became a coping strategy for her, which developed into bulimia. She also began stealing for the “rush of excitement and power.” Her pathway toward self-acceptance became clearer when, in her 40s, she discovered a form of improvisational dance that allowed her to open communication channels between her mind, body, and spirit. The strength of this deeply moving memoir lies in its blunt honesty regarding self-perception: “I feel ashamed of wanting my distorted body to look sexy, like it’s impossible, something no one will ever think I am. Still, I hold out hope Paul will be attracted to me.” Yet coupled with her straight-talking approach, she expresses a beguiling tenderness toward readers: “I hope you find a friend in the girl I write about.” The life recalled here is punctuated with harrowing challenges, several of which appear insurmountable. But the author proves to be a true inspiration, and every sentence seems to smolder with her tenacity.

Sharp, courageous writing in a powerful memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-977815-44-6

Page Count: 410

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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