Likely to appeal only to Christian readers.

MIRACLE FOR JEN

A TRAGIC ACCIDENT, A MOTHER'S DESPERATE PRAYER, AND HEAVEN'S EXTRAORDINARY ANSWER

A mother’s searching memoir about how she and her family found their faith tested in the aftermath of a devastating car crash.

Baptist evangelical speaker Barrick had the perfect life. A Bible study leader, she was happily married and had two blessed children. Her son was a gifted athlete; her daughter, Jen, was a “straight-A honor student, varsity soccer player and nationally ranked varsity cheerleader” who loved God. But in 2006, tragedy struck when a drunk driver collided head-on with the car in which she and her family were riding. Her son escaped with bruises and scratches while Barrick and her husband suffered multiple fractures and severe lacerations. Jen was hurt worst of all and sustained life-threatening head injuries. Barrick and her husband struggled to come to terms with their now-shattered lives as Jen lay in a coma for over a month. Against all odds, she began to respond; even more amazingly, she started conversing with God in language that was perfectly intelligible. Like her mother and father, Jen recovered her health, but was even more profoundly changed by the accident than they were. Now brain-injured and nearly blind, she was only able to regain normal speech with great effort, although her ability to speak to God unimpaired continued to astound those around her. Barrick admits throughout to longing for a daughter who could be “normal” again. But through Jen, she came to understand that her human desires were secondary to God’s plan, which was to give her daughter “her own special place in His world.” The author’s story is moving but will no doubt frustrate secular readers, as she remains silent about other neurologically based explanations for her daughter’s remarkable abilities and recovery.

Likely to appeal only to Christian readers.

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4143-6119-2

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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