Some readers may find hope from Roppé’s successful battle with cancer, but her self-indulgent tone may leave others...

A cancer diagnosis almost derails a woman’s journey to rock stardom.

After more than 10 years as a corporate lawyer, Roppé finally listened to her heart, quit her job and began making music in earnest. Her dreams were put on hold, however, when her doctor gave her a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer. With the support of her steadfast husband and two young daughters, Roppé resolved to do whatever it took to beat the cancer and take the stage once more. The author provides several interesting stories, including a particularly detailed account of her work as an extra on Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991), but many of her early anecdotes have little to do with either her burgeoning new career as a rock singer or her struggle as a cancer patient. For example, readers unclear on how to pronounce her last name will find several paragraphs discussing it. Even when directly discussing her cancer diagnosis, Roppé fails to adequately address how it temporarily derailed her musical aspirations. She is also quick to point out the positives in her situation, which can be inspiring, but she never explores the darker aspects of her battle. The later chapters begin with e-mails from her online buddy Jane, a fellow breast-cancer victim. Unfortunately for the author, Jane’s e-mails about her life are more open and engaging than the majority of the author’s narrative.

Some readers may find hope from Roppé’s successful battle with cancer, but her self-indulgent tone may leave others unsatisfied.

Pub Date: March 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58005-417-1

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012


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



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

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