Shedding light on the creation of a unique family and an American acting dynasty, this book is certain to become a Father’s...

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ALONG THE WAY

THE JOURNEY OF A FATHER AND SON

The patriarch and scion of one of America’s best-known acting families take turns sharing the stories of their lives, careers and relationship.

The 2010 film The Way, written and directed by Estevez and starring Sheen, tells the story of a man who completes the journey along the Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s path begun by his son, who died en route. The movie provides the entry point for the authors—assisted by Edelman (The Possibility of Everything, 2009, etc.)—to relate their life stories, focusing on acting, faith, family and the filming of The Way. Sheen, born Ramon Estevez, the son of a Spanish immigrant father and Irish immigrant mother, grew up in a large Catholic family in Dayton, Ohio. Emilio Estevez was raised in Malibu, Calif., and on film and TV sets around the world as his father struggled to make a career as an actor and keep his family together. On the whole, the alternating voices work well, highlighting the similarities and differences in the father and son’s paths to professional and personal success and noting the failures and obstacles on the way. Estevez’s description of his experiences as a 14-year-old on the Philippines set of Apocalypse Now is particularly noteworthy, adding an extra dimension to the well-documented insanity of that film’s creation. The drawback to a double memoir becomes evident after a while, however, as the stories of auditions and film sets, fascinating though they may be, lessen the impact of what is intended to be the main focus: the life lessons each man draws from their father-son relationship.

Shedding light on the creation of a unique family and an American acting dynasty, this book is certain to become a Father’s Day gift staple for West Wing and Repo Man fans alike.

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4368-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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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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