As the cold certainty of heartbreak surrounds her, Weir’s sharp honesty begets the doctor’s best friend: trust.

BETWEEN EXPECTATIONS

LESSONS FROM A PEDIATRIC RESIDENCY

An eviscerating chronicle of life as a pediatric resident in two dissimilar Boston hospitals.

It is not easy to like Weir at the beginning of the book. She does not deign to edit her responses to what were often dire circumstances, and she writes with greater deliberation than she displayed on the ward. On the page, she lets her emotions flow exactly as they did at any particular moment, informed by her education or anger about extremely difficult scenarios, such as the tiny premature baby with multiple complications whom she would have let go, his present and future so hopeless, but whose parents refused to surrender. Or the parents who “ask questions for the sake of asking them, to feel involved, much as children do when they are three or four.” Or the teenagers, “with their propensity for sullenness and outright lies, their inability to state in any simple and straightforward terms what was bothering them and why they needed to see a doctor.” Slowly, without making a show of it, Weir demonstrates that she is simply being fair to her understanding of each situation. She never gives any less than her best, but a resident’s workload is impossibly punishing and the situations wretched. She not only gathers the medical talent that may cure a life-threatening problem, but she shows the ineffable will to push through the fugue states and existential despair, a misery testified by another resident during a review session: “It would have been helpful if someone had told us ahead of time that all the Onc kids were going to die.” Readers will weep at points, but, without guile or fanfare, the author also presents many instances of tenderness.

As the cold certainty of heartbreak surrounds her, Weir’s sharp honesty begets the doctor’s best friend: trust.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-8907-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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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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