A harrowingly honest memoir of profound psychological struggle.

BECAUSE WE ARE BAD

OCD AND A GIRL LOST IN THOUGHT

A British model and writer's account of how she learned to live with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

As a child, the author privately referred to herself as “we.” However, the girl that “shared” Bailey’s mind was no imaginary friend: she was the “other” who drove her to check on her sleeping sister several times a night, wash her hands to rawness, and mentally repeat elaborate “prayer[s].” She existed to ensure that Bailey carried out rituals as “protection against everything going wrong” and make up for all her real and imagined mistakes, from killing someone with a thought to spreading deadly disease. As Bailey grew up, her secret “other” became increasingly exacting and onerous: “she [was] a banshee…a spoiled child demanding the whole of me.” By the time the author was an adolescent, her “double” made her recite long strings of letters in her head, each of which stood for the first letter of an action (such as staring) or a thing (such as bad breath) for which she sought retribution. Bailey finally revealed her list-making habit to a school doctor, who referred her to a psychiatrist named Dr. Finch. Intensive therapy helped the author free herself from her “other,” whom she then “replaced” with her doctor. Determined to free herself from dependence on Dr. Finch, the author severed their connection and stopped taking medication after leaving England to attend college in Ireland. The result was a first term characterized by heavy drinking, shoplifting, and attempted suicide. Only after returning to London to face her demons and work through transference issues with her psychiatrist was Bailey finally able to find relief from her overactive mind and the underlying anxiety that had defined her life. In her courageous book, the author offers compelling insight into the pain and destructive power of OCD as well as the resilience of a young woman determined to beat the odds.

A harrowingly honest memoir of profound psychological struggle.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269616-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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