Truthful, dignified, and pragmatic writing.

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TWO MINUS ONE

A MEMOIR

A woman chronicles a painful divorce in this debut memoir.

Taylor remembers that she was driving on the interstate with her then-husband, Jim, when he suddenly announced, “I’m done with our marriage.” The couple had been facing tough challenges: Jim’s work had forced them to maintain a long-distance relationship for sustained periods, and his brother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, there were no clear indications that Jim would request a divorce. Indeed, the shock was so great that the author says that she felt that “all the oxygen seemed to escape from the vehicle.” When they first got married, she remembers, they used to wake each morning with smiles on their faces; they’d both been divorced before, so they were committed to making their marriage work. After settling together in Summerville, South Carolina, a chain of events, including leaving her job as a teacher, led to Taylor’s feeling isolated. She writes that Jim told her that she sometimes said “hurtful” things, particularly after overindulging in wine, but she felt that her actions didn’t warrant his description of her as “selfish” and “mean.” This memoir confronts the painful, debilitating nature of divorce and offers guidance on how to survive “unexpectedly starting over” at 60. The act of putting her story on paper appears to have been a major source of catharsis for the author; she says that she’d always wanted to be a writer and that her grief helped her to complete this book. Her prose is elegantly descriptive and effortlessly precise throughout, and she speaks tenderly and directly to her readers: “You, too, have the ability to regain your confidence, abandon your hopelessness, and realize that you are not a woman to be tossed aside and forgotten.” Taylor carefully explores her own rebuilding process, including time that she spent in therapy and the crucial support that she received from her friends. Her book may act as a lifeline for other women going through similar experiences, as it offers hope for newfound happiness.

Truthful, dignified, and pragmatic writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-454-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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