Sharapova demonstrates consistent dedication and impressive wisdom for her age.

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UNSTOPPABLE

MY LIFE SO FAR

Professional tennis celebrity Sharapova relates her remarkable immigration saga and writes candidly about her career, family, and personal life.

The author’s father, Yuri, became interested in tennis by chance as an adult. When young Maria started tagging along with him to watch matches, Yuri recognized her natural ability and decided he would devote his life to developing her into the world’s top female tennis player. Yuri persuaded his wife to surrender seeing Maria for at least a couple of years, and he and 7-year-old Maria spent the family savings on airplane tickets to Florida, where top youth tennis camps, especially the IMG Academy, trained future stars. Yuri and Maria spoke no English, did not contact any of the academies in advance, and had no idea how to find a residence, but through a series of fortunate, unlikely occurrences, Maria gained entry into IMG. With fierce determination, she drilled every day with her father and coaches, and eventually her mother was able to obtain a rare visa to enter the U.S., reuniting the family. After a major growth spurt, the young Sharapova quickly ascended the youth ranks. At age 17, she defeated the top seed, Serena Williams, to win Wimbledon, becoming the third-youngest woman to win the prestigious tournament. Williams appears often throughout the remainder of the book, as she becomes Sharapova’s chief rival and the most dominant force in the women’s game. For tennis players and fans, the memoir is filled with solid insights about on-the-court strategy and off-the-court psychology. “I can get fancy and sweet about it,” she writes, “but at bottom my motivation is simple: I want to beat everyone….Ribbons and trophies get old, but losing lasts.” For readers with no interest in tennis, the author delivers an impressive immigration tale, an inspiring coming-of-age narrative, and a host of useful advice on navigating celebrity culture.

Sharapova demonstrates consistent dedication and impressive wisdom for her age.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-27979-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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BECOMING

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...

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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