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BLACK WIDOW

A SAD-FUNNY JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF FOR PEOPLE WHO NORMALLY AVOID BOOKS WITH WORDS LIKE "JOURNEY" IN THE TITLE

A love-filled eulogy to a beloved husband and the special times the couple shared before he died.

A memoir about how the author coped with her husband’s sudden death.

In her seriocomic debut, Palm Beach Post entertainment columnist Streeter pays tribute to her husband, Scott, by sharing detailed stories about their life together and her many struggles dealing with his death. Because Scott was white and Jewish and the author is black and Baptist, religion, racism, integration, and acceptance are significant topics throughout the narrative. For the first few months after his death, Streeter was overcome by grief as she had to pick Scott’s coffin (a “lovely, Jewish-law-compliant pine box”), choose the appropriate spot to bury him and which dress to wear to the funeral, and, most importantly, figure out how to tell their son, almost-2-year-old Brooks, whose adoption was nearly complete, that “Daddy’s not actually working late.” The author also shares her insecurities about weight and overeating, the intense exercise program she endured to get back in shape after binging, how she drank to avoid the pain, and the necessity of relying on her mother, who had also recently lost her husband. Although Streeter’s humor occasionally feels forced, her grief, lucidly portrayed, is tangible, and it’s clear writing about her difficult experiences proved cathartic to her and to those who know her and Scott and their relationship. The most moving part of the book, divided into chapters such as “Grief Cake,” “Healing: It’s Like Putting Eyeliner on a Baby,” and “You’re Gonna Make it After All,” concerns the author’s continued hopes and fears regarding the final adoption of their son, a narrative thread that culminates in a heartwarming verdict by the judge. Her resilience in the face of devastating loss is commendable, and while the book isn’t a top-shelf memoir about grief, Streeter’s candid exploration will resonate with those who have dealt with similar circumstances.

A love-filled eulogy to a beloved husband and the special times the couple shared before he died.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49071-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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NIGHT

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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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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