A bold, honest, and courageous memoir.

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SOJOURN OF A HUNGRY SOUL

A young black woman’s searing debut memoir about growing up poor and facing the challenges of both physical and emotional hunger.

Cannady knew what it was like to be hungry even before she was born: “Food was a scarcity in my Momma’s womb, my first home.” Her mother, Lois, was still a teenager when the author was born and had already experienced rape at the hands of her first baby’s father. Cannady’s father, Carl, was the second man in Lois’ life, and until Lois gave birth, he seemed to offer hope for a brighter future. But the longer the author’s mother stayed with him, the more abusive and parasitic he became, hitting Lois and feeding off the little money she received from welfare. The first significant male figure to enter Cannady's life after Carl was Pee Wee, who helped make the family’s hunger disappear. But his contributions to the household came at a cost. Until Pee Wee was arrested for pedophilia, he sexually abused Cannady and threatened to kill Lois if Cannady ever told her the truth. Other men entered and left the family’s life and brought temporary security and nourishment with them. Yet inevitably, they all became unreliable and/or violent. This instability, combined with Cannady’s early experience with sexual victimization, led her into the arms of boys and men who were just as damaged as she was. However, the great tragedy was that these boyfriends genuinely wanted to care for Cannady before they succumbed to their own brutal conditioning. Throughout this at-times painful narrative, the author also celebrates the strength of her bonds among the members of her family and especially with her mother. These bonds offered her the sustenance she needed to become a woman whose hunger to escape the cycle of abuse eventually trumped dysfunction and chaos and put her on a road to a better life.

A bold, honest, and courageous memoir.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9897532-9-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Etruscan Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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