A sassy, colorful take on New-Age insights.

SPIRITUAL VIXEN'S GUIDE TO AN UNAPOLOGETIC LIFE

A self-help memoir about one woman overcoming a broken marriage and alcoholism to find spiritual fulfillment.

“Magical chapters can start with really sucky endings,” writes Muldoon (Giant Love Song, 2018, etc.), and she begins this remembrance with one such conclusion. Her marriage to fellow actor “Reed” (names have been changed) collapsed in divorce after she learned that he’d been having an affair with a former Miss Universe. Suddenly, the author was facing life as a single mother of a 3-year-old, so to make ends meet, she became a children’s party entertainer and auditioned for acting jobs in commercials and theater productions. As she did so, she took a year off from pursuing romantic relationships to focus on her own emotional healing. Her period of celibacy, she says, forced her to rely on herself, but she eventually met “Will,” a fellow actor and a cancer survivor. Although they’d assumed that he was sterile from chemotherapy, she became pregnant before they married and went on to have two more children. Muldoon finally confronted her drinking problem—which began in her teen years, after her mother’s death—by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and reading Helen Schucman’s 1976 book A Course in Miracles. Now she considers herself a spiritual coach and “celebrant,” and she directs the SpeakEasy Spiritual Community. Later, when she got a call from the aforementioned Miss Universe, lamenting that Reed was seeing someone else, she responded with compassion, rather than vengeful glee. Muldoon re-creates her story with vivid descriptions, believable dialogue, and enjoyable portraits of such people as her occasional roommate “Skye.” Along the way, she offers keen observations on the “scripts and structures” that underpin the modern dating game, which subordinate women’s needs to men’s senses of entitlement. The timeline can be a bit confusing when the memoir loops back to past events, but the book’s arrangement is more thematic than chronological; the 16 chapter titles align with a final list of exhortations. The author also offers concrete, valuable examples of how the “feminine Divine” can help turn trauma into spiritual wisdom, which should particularly appeal to fans of Louise Hay’s work.

A sassy, colorful take on New-Age insights.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-447-9

Page Count: 232

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2018

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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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