Unsettling and absorbing.




Multilayered memoir chronicles a young woman’s growth into adulthood, probing the ethics of adultery and portraying an enviable, mature marriage.

Darling was a fledgling Washington Post reporter when she met acclaimed journalist Lee Lescaze. He was married, but that didn’t stop the two from beginning a torrid affair. When Lescaze’s wife found a card she had sent him, Darling wavered a little bit, wanting to tell her lover, “I am a thirty-year-old girl with the moral depth of a dragonfly, and you would be crazy to do anything that connected your happiness to mine.” Nonetheless, he got a divorce and moved in with her. The familiar staples (verging on clichés) of the affair-and-remarriage genre are here: Before Lescaze left his wife, Darling wondered what it would be like to date someone with whom she could be seen in public; afterwards, she desperately tried to get his kids to like her. The real strength of this account is its depiction of the lovers’ eventual marriage. Together, they struggled with the death of Lescaze’s son, then with his own fatal cancer. The most insightful chapter details their first year of marriage. With tender pathos, Darling describes becoming “really married,” the process through which “our initial idea of romance yielded reluctantly to the reality of daily life.” Since their relationship had begun as an affair, this transition from the romantic to the quotidian was especially fraught; Darling could no longer define herself as the exciting vixen who would rescue Lescaze from the dull drudgery of his first marriage. Anyone who is married will laugh with Darling as she describes the disappointment she felt when her new hubby gave her towels for Valentine’s Day, and underline her many insights into the “cycles [of] domestic life.”

Unsettling and absorbing.

Pub Date: March 27, 2007

ISBN: 0-385-33606-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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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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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...


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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