The car columnist for Lear's sets out to determine ``the hold of internal combustion over our imaginations and our lives.'' Although her first name is noncommittal, Hazleton (England, Bloody England, 1989, etc.) happens to be a woman, a fact that she makes much of—and rightly so—in the male world of gear-shifting, engine grease, and torque. Her odyssey into Autoland becomes also a study in ``transgression,'' the crossing of boundaries set not only around gender but also around propriety, fear, death. At first, she sputters along an utterly predictable track: ``road, machine, and driver were blended into a single entity, an unholy union of asphalt and steel and flesh.'' But soon she kicks into fifth gear, roaring in a Formula Ford around a Connecticut racetrack (``I drove through my terror''), even finding ``direct, physical sexual arousal behind the wheel of a powerful car at speed.'' Racing, she learns, is not a matter of taking risks but of gaining control. She steps up to a Lamborghini, and at 155 mph finds the limits of her skill. Here, the book takes a sharp curve- -into a second book, in effect—as Hazleton becomes a mechanic's apprentice in Vermont. The pace slows. She falls in love with her pink mechanic's rag, with exploded diagrams of engine parts, with the tools of the trade. To her astonishment, it appears that the secret life of cars, ``a mystery peculiar to the male gender,'' is but ``a reasonable matter of mechanical cause and effect.'' Still, her conscience is troubled—while cars thrill, they also pollute. Environmental itchiness leads to an anticlimactic finale—a sidebar of sorts tacked on to the two books—as Hazleton tracks down engineering genius Paul MacCready, champion of the nonpolluting electric car. Still, apart from the structural creaks, a sleek, exciting, V-8 performance.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-201-63204-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992


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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