Cute inspiration for beginners.

An Artist's Journey through Wonderland

Fowler’s self-help debut takes readers down the rabbit hole in search of creative courage.

Fowler, a certified creativity coach, says, “Imagination is one of my favorite destinations.” Using Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as an allegory for the creative process, she hopes to inspire others to begin creative endeavors by throwing off the shackles of fear and procrastination. In this slim edition, she defines creative types as “Creativites.” In order to overcome artistic fears, Creativites should name the monsters that terrorize them into inaction: Dobie Doubter, Bully B*tch, Fluke Flinger, Poser Dozer, and Evil Dictator—the “creativity crushers” or mental roadblocks to artistic success. Dobie Doubter, for example, whispers cautionary tales into the Creativite’s ear, causing doubt that success is possible. Adult readers can finish this brisk, imaginative pep talk in an hour or two; however, the text may be more appealing to younger readers, as the narrative’s soft, childlike voice is easily accessible: “Fear tells us we can’t lose if we don’t play; we can’t fail if we don’t try. Now isn’t that just silly?” The book’s eye-catching layout features colorful page borders and pen-and-ink drawings reminiscent of Wonderland and its characters. For example, the beginning of a chapter about “grinning at fear” showcases the Cheshire Cat’s wide, toothy grin. The Wonderland analogy carries through to the end—no need to be afraid, because the Queen of Hearts won’t really hurt anyone—and the tone is both enthusiastic and humorous. Fowler’s rudimentary advice is basically what creative types already know; e.g., don’t compare yourself (or your work) to others, and yes, mistakes do happen. Describing the time she spilled paint on her artwork and turned the mess into a beautiful correction, she urges readers to “embrace the blob.” Fowler’s simplistic analogy would be more memorable if she had included some hands-on creative exercises. Nevertheless, readers looking for a short burst of creative inspiration may be prompted by this whimsical pat on the back.

Cute inspiration for beginners.

Pub Date: June 11, 2015


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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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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