A mishmash of lightly sketched topics but still a beneficial, uplifting memoir of recovery.

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CUPCAKES, YOGA, AND JESUS

One woman details her journey of finding Jesus, overcoming alcoholism, and helping others do the same.

Litchke spent most of her life as a high-functioning alcoholic. In this debut, she first shares how she endured her son’s turbulent teenage years that were filled with heartache and uncertainty because of his struggle with addiction. When he was sentenced to prison for marijuana possession, it was a turning point for both mother and son. Litchke writes, “I hit my knees and gave my life to Jesus.” She transformed from a helicopter parent to one who put her trust in God. Over a year later, she finally faced her own alcoholism and made a decision to get sober. In addition to attending a 12-step recovery program, she strove to replace her drinking habit with baking cupcakes and creating inspirational bumper stickers. She also discovered yoga, which played a vital role in her personal and spiritual development: “I had finally created a space to accept myself without judgment….I think God just wants us to create a space during yoga to invite Him in.” Yoga and counseling gave her the courage to approach her husband about his drinking problem and assist him in his recovery. Litchke’s candor, especially about her parenting mistakes and alcoholism, brings power to her words. Her conversational, gung-ho writing style may inspire like-minded Christians but will probably turn off others. For example, she says that she used to think born-again Christians were “weird” until she became one. “I love being weird. I just love Jesus! I am a Jesus junky for sure.” Because the topics are so varied—parenting, alcoholism, cupcakes, yoga, Jesus—some readers might skim sections that don’t particularly interest them. That said, the book carries great value as a clear-cut, real-life example of recovery from addiction. Also, sweet-toothed readers will enjoy the cupcake recipes that accompany each chapter.

A mishmash of lightly sketched topics but still a beneficial, uplifting memoir of recovery.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-6907-4

Page Count: 146

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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