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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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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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