The nanny's-eye view of the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow meltdown. Groteke was a college student when hired in the summer of 1991 to help care for the younger of Farrow's children (there were nine at the time—two more were adopted during her tenure). She worked for the family during the turbulent two years that followed, when Farrow discovered Allen's affair with her daughter Soon-Yi and later accused him of molesting their seven-year-old, Dylan. Groteke is a member of Farrow's camp, but she doesn't mince words: Her depiction of the actress is not flattering. More compelling than her rehashings of the by-now familiar accusations and counteraccusations are her cannily framed snapshots of daily life in the Farrow household. Allen was often icy (he ignored most of the children) but could turn on practically irresistible charm. Farrow was part child-saving saint, part ``doormat.'' After the Soon-Yi discovery, she continued to talk on the phone to Allen as often as ten times a day, made her older children her confidants as she publicly nursed her ``broken heart,'' and contemplated taking in more children. While Groteke says she hasn't ``the foggiest idea'' of whether the molestation occurred, she highlights changes in Dylan's behavior (i.e., heightened physical modesty) that took place at the time. Farrow meanwhile vacillated between obsessive crusading and a state of depression and fear verging on paranoia (she was convinced, for instance, that her apartment was bugged). But as time passed, she regained strength and equanimity. Groteke (assisted by People magazine writer Rosen) delivers the goods: loads of telling details of a family at once genuinely loving and severely troubled. Followers of this most lurid of family feuds will find Groteke a rare source: a spankingly sensible insider whose allegiances don't seem to circumscribe what she reports.

Pub Date: May 16, 1994

ISBN: 0-7867-0066-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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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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