A moving account of how one woman's willpower saved her home and her family.

BOOTSTRAPPER

FROM BROKE TO BADASS ON A NORTHERN MICHIGAN FARM

A woman's journey of survival against many odds.

"Nobody likes a drunk, soon-to-be-divorced, in-debt, swollen-eyed, single mother farmeress," writes Link (Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town, 2009, etc.) in her down-to-earth, often humorous memoir of her effort to hold onto her farm and her three sons. With "Mr. Wonderful" (her ex) living just across the street, the author chronicles a year's worth of struggles as sole breadwinner, mother and farmer. In a partially refurbished old farmhouse, Link battled the monthly cycle of bills and the impossible task of feeding three teenage boys on her vegetable garden, one pig and a free year's supply of day-old bread, courtesy of the giant-zucchini contest she won. With the death of her beloved horse, her dreams of one kind of life were replaced with another vision and a loneliness that she filled with work and the need to survive. Whether gardening, stealing firewood or shoveling snow, the foursome eked their way through the lack of heat, food and money, juxtaposing days of intense labor with fun-filled moments like cooking marshmallows indoors in the fireplace or finding the perfect Christmas tree. As winter turned to spring and the threat of losing everything hung over her head, Link was forced to make difficult decisions. But tenacity and perseverance prove life can be good, filled with simple joys such as watching her sons grow into hardworking individuals, eating food straight from the ground and collecting eggs from her own hens. And if romance appears at odd moments, so much the better.

A moving account of how one woman's willpower saved her home and her family.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-59691-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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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 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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