An engaging story of a mother, divorcee, dancer, poet and student looking to find peace.

LYNN AND JOE

PECULIAR TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS

A woman’s memoir of her journey from bad marriages to independence and love.

This debut follows a free-spirited mother looking for freedom and a fulfilling love life in a male-dominated society. In May 1977, Lynn finds herself in her third crumbling marriage, this time to an abusive, possessive man named Paolo. Her sons from previous marriages live with their fathers due to Paolo’s strict ways and Lynn’s inability to provide a comfortable life for them. After supporting Paolo through school during their seven-year marriage, Lynn finally pursues her passion as a drama major at the University of California, Berkeley. While Lynn fights for custody of their 6-year-old daughter and struggles to reclaim her old Victorian house, she’s forced to drop out of school. Lynn’s drama studies spark her interest in females of Greek mythology and make her analyze her own life in 1960s and ’70s California. Lynn wants to live her life without a man, but it would take spiritual and emotional work. Her poetry and meditation sustain her, but her need to pay for her divorce from Paolo forces her to work as an exotic dancer at the Garden of Eden. Lynn takes Marika to visit her friend in Bodega Bay, Calif., where they experience a simpler life camping out in a van near the beach. Eventually, Lynn, in desperation, moves in with her mother and stepfather near Berkeley and gets a job at a paint store, where she meets a drummer/painter named Joe. She slowly learns that time and patience can yield a relationship with a man that isn’t built on lust or financial need. The author’s prose is lyrical and philosophical, exploring lessons she learned from Greek dramas and the feminist teachings of poets and activists in 1970s Berkeley. Her experience as a poet shines through: “Dance and song and poems began to flow into the river of suppressed tears that began first as a trickle and merged into tumbling rapids. This was not pain or joy; it was the unnamed sensation of commitment to my own inner truth.” The author continuously describes the spiritual experiences that allowed her to release her anger and frustration. Overall, the book is a resonant portrayal of one woman’s experience in the ’60s and ’70s.

An engaging story of a mother, divorcee, dancer, poet and student looking to find peace.

Pub Date: May 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482656923

Page Count: 538

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2013

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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