A must-read for anyone touched by sexual abuse.

THE TRICKY PART

ONE BOY’S FALL FROM TRESPASS INTO GRACE

A remarkable memoir provides an absorbing depiction of abuse and its aftermath.

Marty Moran, a good boy from a Catholic family in Colorado, was 12 when he spent the weekend with a camp counselor named Bob. By day, they did manual labor, working on the summer camp Bob was building. By night, Bob slipped into bed next to Marty and molested him. The friendship, and the sex, continued for three years. Sometimes Marty joined Bob in bed with Bob’s girlfriend for a molestation ménage a trois. Other times, Bob would invite over several boys and have sex with each of them, one after another (“we were part of some secret club; a blonde, blue-eyed bordello”). At 15, Marty told Bob he was ashamed of their relationship and he never wanted to see him again. And now, in middle age, Marty tracks down his molester and confronts him. Bob is pathetic. He makes excuses. Marty is both forgiving and firm. Throughout, Moran approaches his topic with subtlety and nuance. He admits that at times he enjoyed the sex, and he doesn’t shy away from saying that it emboldened him, in fact aroused him. The author also deserves kudos for his deft treatment of the consequences of the molestation. He makes clear that the abuse formed him, shaped him, scarred him—but he never sounds whiny or victimized or predictable. As an adult, Moran wrestles with sex “addiction.” Though he’s in a long-term, stable and loving homosexual relationship with Henry, he occasionally prowls the streets and gay bars for the thrill of an anonymous coupling. Moran loves Henry, and his stable life, but he feels some compulsion for secret, hidden sex—a compulsion he knows he can trace back to Bob. Eventually, he confesses to Henry and goes into therapy. Henry stands by his man, hurt, but committed to Moran.

A must-read for anyone touched by sexual abuse.

Pub Date: June 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-8070-7262-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2005

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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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