A noble effort, but the execution needs refinement.

WHISPERS IN THE DARK

MY LITTLE TALKS WITH GOD: A CRY FOR JUSTICE

In this collection of poems, Williams-Roddy presents her thoughts and prayers on enduring life’s hardships from a spiritual perspective.

Subtitled “My Little Talks With God: A Cry for Justice,” this prayer journal of sorts chronicles the author’s daily meditations. The majority of the poetry concerns imploring God for relief from the world, or critiquing the state of society today. With titles such as “Imprisonment,” “Unfair Treatment” and “Victim of Indifference,” Williams-Roddy presents her viewpoint as being constantly besieged with obstacles and injustices, and appeals to both God and the reader for action. Many of the poems focus on the societal pressure to mask feelings of rage, fear or pain with an unaffected exterior (“I sit here with a pasted smile, / a smirk, a grin, / Trying to keep my composure / from the beginning until the end”). Other works deal with the frustrations and anger of experiencing racism, both directly and indirectly (“Anger, Anger, Anger, Anger, / Is how I feel today. / To enter into this ethnic bondage, / For another day”), as well as the ideas of what it takes to bring justice to the world. The remaining poems are worshipful praises of God’s blessings, with works including “In the Valley” and “Peace.” Williams-Roddy also sprinkles biblical scripture throughout as companion verses to her themes. While the author may have overcome hardships, frequently the reader struggles to identify with her. All too often, Williams-Roddy complains about broad generalities (evil, racism) and offers little in the way of specifics or personal details. Without being able to sympathize with the author as an individual, the large themes just remain large, not relatable. Problems also arise from the on-again, off-again rhyme structure of the poems. The pieces dealing with worship fare better, with some thoughtful meditations on appreciating life as it comes, and a nice balance of adversity and spiritual triumph.

A noble effort, but the execution needs refinement.

Pub Date: July 27, 2010

ISBN: 978-1449007812

Page Count: 108

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2010

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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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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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