A candid, sometimes prosaic memoir of coping with grief and moving forward.

WIDOWISH

An award-winning screenwriter’s account of how she survived the unexpected death of her beloved husband and learned to navigate life on her own.

Gould had been married for 10 years when doctors diagnosed her healthy, athletic husband, Joel, with multiple sclerosis. Joel managed his illness well with drugs, but as he neared his 50th birthday, "the MS was getting hard to ignore.” Then, two months after he turned 50, Joel suddenly became ill with West Nile virus, which left him paralyzed and brain damaged. Gould had to make the extremely painful decision to end life support. Afterward, her life felt like an "uphill" climb that offered no reprieve from the feelings of loss she suffered, and she spent each night remembering Joel with her daughter. “In the dark weeks that followed,” she writes, “there were beacons of light shining a path for Sophie and me to follow.” Financial worries added "to the stress of grief.” She began looking for signs of Joel's love for her and believed she found it when she accidentally stumbled across a Joel Osteen radio program that promoted positive spirituality and gratitude. A psychic medium later told the author that Joel “was still with” her and that he approved of the new man that the psychic predicted would enter her life. Not long after that, Gould finally began to refer to herself as a widow despite her preconceived notion that such women were "old, wrinkled, tragic. Wearing black. Maybe even a veil.” Acknowledgment of who she had become led to other breakthroughs, including friendships with other widows who led full lives and a passionate connection with a musician. The main strength of this memoir is Gould’s insight into the impact that spousal loss has on personal identity. Though not a standout in this genre, Gould's book will appeal to women seeking to understand the meaning of widowhood.

A candid, sometimes prosaic memoir of coping with grief and moving forward.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1878-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Little A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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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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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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