A potent memoir of fragility and transcendence.



A courageous chronicle of abuse and redemption.

Danish activist, economist, and writer Andersen writes with striking clarity about the first two decades of her life. The book is not only a personal story of success in the face of ongoing trauma, but also an exploration of interventions that fell short. Following a chronological format, the author catalogs the unimaginable cruelties she endured during her formative years within family encounters, foster care, group homes, and orphanages. Each account includes missed opportunities for intercession on the part of someone with the capacity and opportunity to help her emerge from “a childhood characterized by betrayal, violence, and sexual assault.” Andersen’s candor about the trusted adults who repeatedly violated her illuminates painful yet vital insights about how to recognize and address the sometimes-contradictory and often undermining effects of childhood trauma. As she chronicles how she overcame years of extreme abuse to eventually thrive, Andersen’s revelations of intimate betrayals are often chilling, and many readers may be shocked or outraged. They should continue to read, however, because the book advances an important broader purpose: undergirding the value of survivors’ voices as instrumental to guiding future policies, advocacy, and change. Closing with descriptions of visits with her incarcerated brother and estranged mother, the author shows the difference that successful interventions can make. Her history of trauma shaped her lifelong passion for protecting vulnerable populations, and this tightly distilled collection of memories serves as an urgent call to public action and reform with regard to children’s rights. This is a triumphant, empowering book that calls into question current patterns of intervention and challenges popular conceptions about what it means to believe young girls. “Whether you’re a neighbor, a social worker, a schoolteacher, or a grandparent, you must and should act,” writes Andersen. “In this book, you’ll meet many people who acted on my behalf. I hope they will inspire you to reach out as well.”

A potent memoir of fragility and transcendence.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1590-5

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 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 19, 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...


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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