The making of the film was infamously messy, but Modine’s presentation of his story is clean and smart.

FULL METAL JACKET DIARY

The lead of Stanley Kubrick's classic film about the Vietnam War blends sound, image and text to recall an often-exasperating experience.

Modine first put this diary between hard covers (metal ones, in fact) in 2005 for a limited-edition book; this app version was financed through a successful Kickstarter campaign. In 1985, when Modine was tapped by Kubrick to star in Full Metal Jacket, he had already starred in a Vietnam-themed film, Birdy. Any concerns about being typecast were erased by a chance to work with the storied director. Modine discusses some of the director’s eccentricities—endless retakes, gnomic pronouncements—but this book is more an intimate accounting than behind-the-scenes gossip. His wife, Cari, was pregnant during filming in England, and Modine foolishly thought the film would wrap in time for them to have the baby in the United States. Not only did filming stretch well beyond nine months, but the experience brought out Kubrick at his worst: He only grudgingly allowed Modine to leave the set to witness the birth of his son. The app’s trove of photos (each favorite-able and Tweet-able) fill most of the screen space, and they capture the author’s somber yet personable perspective via snapshots of his wife and co-stars, with occasional news clippings and artsy landscapes. The diary entries themselves are plainspoken and reveal a fame-struck actor in his mid-20s struggling to improve his craft. He’s never more self-flagellating than when he offends Kubrick by violating his brainstorming rules, and his efforts to get back in the auteur’s good graces add another layer of drama to an already tense story. Users can hear Modine read the diary in its entirety, though except for passages about line readings, the audio version is skippable.

The making of the film was infamously messy, but Modine’s presentation of his story is clean and smart.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Matthew Modine

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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