A courageously honest memoir.

GOODBYE, SWEET GIRL

A STORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SURVIVAL

An essayist’s debut memoir about her decadelong struggle to leave a violent, emotionally unstable husband.

When Idaho native Sundberg met Caleb, whose “West Virginia drawl made him seem gentlemanly,” she had no idea that within six months, they would be engaged and pregnant. Both were in their 20s and equally unprepared for commitment. But the author chose to forget their relationship was neither “idyllic [n]or blissful” and “love him through my fear,” just as she had a childhood friend who had once chased her with a knife. Caleb’s dark side surfaced not long after their engagement, as they were returning from a hunting trip. Sundberg immediately assumed responsibility for his rage and felt “grateful” when he forgave her. Caleb’s sudden fits of anger soon became a permanent feature of their relationship, as did the heavy drinking he managed to keep hidden during their courtship. The author also discovered that Caleb had cheated on her with three women while they had been dating, but only after they had married. As with all of her husband’s other transgressions, she accepted his tearful apologies as proof that he would change. Sundberg became depressed enough that she sought out counseling. The therapist was able to name the destructive behaviors in her marriage for what they were: domestic violence. Nevertheless, the cycle of brutality and tenderness continued. Eventually, the author and her husband moved to West Virginia. There, the author began a graduate program and found the success Caleb did not have with his own writing. Only after an especially savage incident that required police and paramedic assistance was Sundberg finally able to move on from a broken relationship and begin the long process of healing her own life. By turns wrenching and lyrical, Sundberg’s book is an unflinching exploration of both domestic violence and one woman’s long, often painful evolution from codependence to self-respect.

A courageously honest memoir.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249767-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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