HOME MADE

A STORY OF GRIEF, GROCERIES, SHOWING UP—AND WHAT WE MAKE WHEN WE MAKE DINNER

A moving memoir about how “systems fail but food is revolutionary.”

In 2006, Hauck began an unusual volunteer project at a group home for adolescent boys in state care. She had conceived the project with her father, a social worker and co-founder of the nonprofit residence; after he died, the author decided to make the plan a reality. “Cooking at the House,” she writes in this highly affecting story, “would be a way to finish one item on my father’s largely unfinished to-do list.” A high school Spanish teacher, Hauck had no clear plans for her future, and she was burdened by an abiding sense of grief over her father’s death. “The project,” she reflects, “was less about retracing his steps than understanding the map of the world he lived in, to figure out how it might also be mine.” The boys—eight at any one time—picked the menus, she arrived once a week with groceries that she paid for herself, and they cooked and ate together for nearly three years. The boys’ food choices usually leaned toward pizza, stir-fry, and quesadillas, but once they asked for fried chicken, which Hauck had never made. Armed with a recipe from a friend’s mother, she soon realized that it was far different from what the boys had eaten. “Until the fried chicken, we hadn’t really addressed race,” she writes. “It was obviously always present, but we never talked about the ways race inflected our food, our bodies, our everything. Until the fried chicken, we cooked around it.” Hauck creates indelible portraits of the wounded, lonely, and disillusioned boys, some of whom lashed out in anger at a world that had failed them. When the residence closed in 2009 due to lack of funding, the director implored Hauck to write about her experience: “You have to tell the story. That something happened here. Or there will be no trace of any of it.” Hauck’s sensitive memoir honors the boys she nourished.

A captivating debut.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-51243-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dial Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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