LOOSE GIRL

A MEMOIR OF PROMISCUITY

An important look at the dynamics of female sexual power and promiscuity in general.

The author probes her troubling relationship to sex.

As a teen, Cohen, who wrote the young-adult novel Easy (2006), indiscriminately sought the sexual attention of men and boys her age in a desperate attempt to make up for the love her parents denied her. Figuring she slept with close to 40 partners before realizing “doing so was not serving [her] well,” the author recounts in spare, incisive prose the many unfulfilling sexual exploits she enacted in a vain attempt to secure “proof of being loved.” Looking back on those moments, her bald account brings to the fore the double standard between the sexes when it comes to promiscuity. “For a man this might be a pleasant trip down memory lane, counting up his conquests,” she writes. “But for a girl, it’s a whole other story. I had let these men inside me, wanting that to make me matter to them. Wanting it to make me matter.” Cohen’s training as a psychotherapist is clearly evident. She reveals an impressive analytic prowess as she exposes the damaging self-effacement that underlies the seeming assertion involved in attracting men to her and then driving them away. Though by the memoir’s end she’s changed course and entered into a long-term relationship that meets her needs, Cohen admits: “I’ve learned at this point there’s no shot I can receive, no pill I can take, no therapy I can be a part of that will give me the resolve to do the things I need to do to be loved. It’s a choice. A simple choice. I say I want intimacy. I say I want to be loved. But really, I’m petrified. The straight truth is, I don’t know if I have it in me, and I’m scared to find out that I can’t.” Cohen’s ultimate ownership of her issues leaves as much of an impression as her openness in putting them out there.

An important look at the dynamics of female sexual power and promiscuity in general.

Pub Date: June 6, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4013-0349-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2008

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

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