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Death Is Not "The End"

Fans of the movie Ghost will enjoy this tale of love surviving death.

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A skeptic gains a new outlook on life after her husband’s premature death from cancer.

“It is difficult to formulate words for what has happened,” Berlin writes in her thoughtful nonfiction debut. “You see, a revelation of this magnitude requires a whole new vocabulary on my part.” The revelation in question is one of many, all happening in the wake of the death of Berlin’s husband, Max, from cancer on December 23, 2003. Berlin, who was once agnostic, lost her husband and soon afterward began to experience strange phenomena, intimations of Max’s continued presence. On New Year’s Day 2004, she imagined she heard his voice repeating the kinds of joshing things he used to say when he was alive. “I don’t pretend to completely understand what happened on January 1st,” she says, “but one thing I do know is, it happened.” At one point, she prays to God to hear his voice again, and the next day, while hunting for batteries for the TV remote, she stumbles across a tape recorder with a recording of Max’s voice still in it. Dozens of similar coincidences—light bulbs burning out, books falling off shelves, appliances suddenly turning on, etc.—convince Berlin that the man she describes as her best friend is still with her. Here, she studies the psychological phenomena of cognitive dissonance and the theoretical possibilities of parallel dimensions, investigations interspersed with touching memories of her life with Max. Readers who’ve lost a loved one will immediately sympathize with much of what Berlin relates. Skeptical readers might view her book less as an account of supernatural survival and more as a journal of grief grasping for something real. Nevertheless, her tale of an interrupted love story still resonates.

Fans of the movie Ghost will enjoy this tale of love surviving death.

Pub Date: June 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4582-1709-7

Page Count: 324

Publisher: AbbottPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2015

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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