Kenton tells a truly harrowing story of the violence inflicted on her younger self, and she writes eloquently of the time...

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LOVE AFFAIR

A MEMOIR OF A FORBIDDEN FATHER-DAUGHTER UNION

The author chronicles a bizarre, tortuous journey from incest with her jazz-musician father to late-life healing.

Born in Los Angeles to a glamorous couple—Stanley Kenton was a jazz pianist and composer who was forging his own band, and Violet was the beautiful woman who believed in his dreams of success—filmmaker and health-book author Kenton (Raw Juicing, 2009, etc.) was an only child and a somewhat awkward appendage to their show on the road. The anxious, fearful author grew up isolated from other children, her youth spent driving from city to city with her mother and father, staying in hotel rooms most nights. Stanley was a heavy pill-popper and alcohol abuser who was prone to wild mood swings, and his daughter “escaped into a world of my own making, away from the adult craziness around me.” Eventually, her parents broke up, and Violet remarried and moved to another town. Kenton spent summers with her father. When she was 10, a series of shocking events robbed the child of her innocence, beginning with an afternoon in New York spent playing dress-up and stripping with a bunch of theater people—an outing apparently engineered by her paternal grandmother, Stella, a highly shadowy figure in this narrative. Kenton’s closeness with her father—they often slept in the same bed—transformed into a sexual relationship over the next three years. She adored him but learned to dissociate herself, unable to deal with the emotional conflicts required to keep their secret. The book is full of these gaps, in memory and detail, yet the undertow of feeling is powerful. The girl’s increasingly erratic behavior (mysterious illnesses, an attempted suicide) began to alarm her flipped-out dad and evil grandmother Stella, who took advantage of Stanley’s absence to rehabilitate the 13-year-old, drugging her and sending her secretly to a sanatorium for electro-convulsive therapy.

Kenton tells a truly harrowing story of the violence inflicted on her younger self, and she writes eloquently of the time and therapy that allowed her to heal.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-65908-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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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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