A compelling story about coping with a serious illness, offering lessons in the value of slowing down and appreciating life...

DIALYSIS

A hard-charging PR pro battles kidney failure, as chronicled in this heartfelt memoir.

Weeks before Christmas 1998, Frieden (The Offering, 2013) received devastating news. Her kidneys had stopped working; by the time she was admitted to the hospital, these essential organs were just 4 percent functional. Frieden, a self-described “blonde Amazon” in her early 30s, was highly educated, professionally successful, and athletic. With no history of prior health problems, she wasn’t sure how to cope with the diagnosis of anti-glomerular basement membrane disease, a rare autoimmune disorder. She began dialysis immediately, but the Bay Area resident, who previously had “lived at a frantic pace,” had difficulty adjusting to her new reality. “Delays and endless waiting, and then sitting for four long hours on dialysis, all violated what I valued most: the speed and efficiency that drive successful high tech PR,” she recalls. Eventually, she switched from traditional dialysis at a clinic to at-home peritoneal dialysis, which gave her more flexibility but presented its own challenges. Struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy, she continued to work full-time (and even took on a high-pressure new job) while waiting for her health to stabilize enough to receive a kidney transplant from her husband, Kurt. Despite the prosaic title and occasionally grim subject matter (kidney disease is often fatal), Frieden’s memoir is fresh and engaging. She takes time to discuss the reality of living with kidney disease and how her various surgeries and treatments changed her physical health and relationship with her body, but she gives equal weight to how the disease affected her emotionally. Frieden recounts how she eventually had to accept that “I no longer fit my life story,” a realization that led to a shift in perspective and a “simplicity of consciousness that nourished a profound peace.” This memoir will naturally be of interest to those with kidney problems and their loved ones, but it will also speak to anyone who’s led a life rocked by a personal crisis.

A compelling story about coping with a serious illness, offering lessons in the value of slowing down and appreciating life in the moment.

Pub Date: July 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1482678581

Page Count: 202

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more