A travelogue filled with historic places, but its personal stories provide its highlights.

READ REVIEW

Gap Year Girl

A BABY BOOMER ADVENTURE ACROSS 21 COUNTRIES

A 55-year-old woman and her husband uproot their lives to take a yearlong European tour in Bohr’s debut memoir.

Relatively few people get the opportunity to travel abroad for a significant amount of time, exploring culture, history, and cuisine in different parts of the world. Bohr got not one, but two such chances. Her first, as a graduate student, was a bare-bones, laissez-faire journey, but her second, as a wife and mother who qualified for senior discounts, was a much more carefully planned-out affair. In fact, it took Bohr and her husband, Joe, many years to plan their own “gap year,” in which they hoped to visit more than 20 different countries. Most readers may find their preparations daunting, if not downright terrifying: they developed and executed a calculated savings plan, quit their jobs, and sold half of their worldly belongings. By sticking to their schedule and budget, they managed to see several nations throughout Europe and even took a foray into Africa. The journey, which may seem like an all-but-impossible undertaking, is made very real through Bohr’s frank accounts of their planning, discussions, and decision-making over several years to make their trip a reality. Bohr frequently details the histories of the sites they visited, often providing as much background information as a comprehensive travel guide. Some readers may wish that she had included pictures or illustrations to complement her descriptions, however. At more than 350 pages, this isn’t a memoir to breeze through. Indeed, at times, the lengthy, myriad descriptions and leisurely pace may remind some of watching a friend’s vacation slide show. Bohr shines, however, when she provides glimpses of herself as a whole person, not simply a traveler; for example, her disappointment about their visit to Morocco, where she experienced pushy salespeople, con artists, refuse-filled streets, and dispiriting poverty, is at once visceral and relatable. Her book is an excellent choice for armchair travelers who want to see the sites but are in no particular hurry to do so.

A travelogue filled with historic places, but its personal stories provide its highlights.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63152-820-0

Page Count: 372

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more