A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope.

NEVER GIVE IN TO FEAR

LAUGHING ALL THE WAY UP FROM ROCK BOTTOM

MacGibbon shows readers just how rough the road to redemption is in her gritty memoir of addiction.

The narrative begins with Marti, an aspiring stand-up comedian with a promising career, strung out on drugs and steeped in a culture of sex and music. A new transplant to California from Texas, Marti feels like she’s on top of the world; instead, she’s about to hit rock bottom. She’s running from the pain of losing custody of her daughter, and in her haphazard pursuit of success she clings to “the dope fiends, the winos, the crystal meth chefs. My kind of people. People I could trust.” Soon after moving to a new town, she has a terrifying nightmare that sends her spiraling into a ruinous relationship. When her dark dream turns into a real-life news story, Marti and her boyfriend run further from the fear and realities that, once confronted, will ultimately make or break the couple. Any reader who has ever faced chilling regrets will sympathize with Marti as she recounts, one by one, the red flags of her past. The book’s title, however, may give the impression of a self-help focus that doesn’t actually run through the narrative. While parts of Marti’s life may be tough to read about—she doesn’t spare readers the harsh language, violence and sexuality of real life—her levity and transparency make the journey bearable and worthwhile. Her raw, honest, casual, funny voice permeates every page. The road to recovery begins with her daughter’s forgiveness and continues in a new, healthy marriage. Facing a number of tough crowds as her stand-up career restarts also helps Marti learn to maintain her composure. In the end, readers will likely feel the restorative power that’s symbolized in the memoir’s striking closing image of a rare albino redwood, a symbol of healing.

A dark yet inspiring look at conquering addiction and regaining hope.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9860067-0-8

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Stay Strong Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2012

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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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