A fascinating, gripping, moving memoir perfect for anyone interested in learning more about gender identity or about the...

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TRANNY

CONFESSIONS OF PUNK ROCK'S MOST INFAMOUS ANARCHIST SELLOUT

A visceral memoir that deftly explores Grace’s experience fronting seminal punk band Against Me! as well as the years she spent grappling with gender dysphoria.

From the time she was 5 watching Madonna perform “Material Girl,” Grace, who was born in 1980 as Thomas James Gabel, knew that she wanted to be a woman. Her father was an Army officer, and Grace’s family moved frequently. In 1991, Grace’s parents divorced, and she moved to Naples, Florida, with her mother. Frequently bullied by her peers, she turned to music as an escape. After playing in local bands and getting into the punk scene, Grace decided to create her own solo music project, Against Me!, which eventually grew into a successful and highly influential punk band. The author traces her band’s slow but significant rise to fame, discussing the many issues she faced as they rose—most significantly, the constant worry that the originally anarchist group was “selling out” as well as the debilitating substance abuse that went hand in hand with a touring lifestyle. Grace also explores her constant feelings of gender dysphoria, her attempts to suppress them, and, eventually, her realization that they were not going to go away, which ultimately led to acceptance. Throughout, the author’s voice is candid and raw, and she delivers a touching, occasionally heartbreaking firsthand narrative of what it feels like to be born in the wrong body. “By coming out,” she writes, “I indirectly triggered changes around me….People I’d known for years and saw every day cycled out of my world. It wasn’t that they were transphobic or unsupportive, it was just that things were different.” The book is also a revealing look behind the scenes at the music industry and what it takes, and means, for a band to “make it.”

A fascinating, gripping, moving memoir perfect for anyone interested in learning more about gender identity or about the complicated inner workings of the music business.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38795-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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