Ohden’s perseverance is inspiring, but the presentation lacks the emotional and literary heft her important story warrants.

YOU CARRIED ME

A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR

A memoir of mothers, daughters, adoption, and abortion.

“Many people think abortion is a discrete act that has no lasting effect,” writes Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, in her debut book. “They are so wrong! Abortion can’t be compartmentalized and is never forgotten. And its effects ripple through generations.” The author shares her feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anger when she learned, at age 14, that she was the survivor of a botched abortion procedure. Weighing less than 3 pounds at birth and suffering from respiratory distress, she was barely surviving when her adoptive parents took her home at 2 months old. Ohden always knew she was adopted: "it just was—a fact of life as ordinary as the sunshine in the morning, the starlight in the evenings, and the cozy walls around me.” Thankfully, she was supported by a loving family and welcoming church community. A childhood argument with her adoptive sister revealed the author’s birth story, and she spent a decade struggling to come to terms with having been an unwanted baby, turning her experience and insights into a rewarding career in social work. Upon locating her birth father, she reached out to him only to discover that he had passed away; her birth mother proved harder to locate. At the same time, her life continued forward with marriage and her own experiences with birth, miscarriage, and a second daughter, who was born with significant medical issues. She also continued to work toward resolving her religious beliefs with her experiences. Ohden's story is complicated, and she has impressively overcome significant emotional challenges. Unfortunately, the writing is merely average, and the narrative has the feel of a transcript or summary of events and emotions and how her faith saw her through.

Ohden’s perseverance is inspiring, but the presentation lacks the emotional and literary heft her important story warrants.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-87486-788-6

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Plough

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more