From the cockamamie (extreme ironing) to daredevilry (rooftopping) to a fine day out (catacomb rambling), a taste of...

PLACE HACKING

VENTURING OFF LIMITS

A hodgepodge of adventuring activities designed for urban settings gathered under the rubric “hacking,” as in the old sense of “play[ing] a sophisticated practical joke on a community,” though considerably more inclusive here.

Place hacking, for author Rosen, comprises three categories of activities: urban exploration, urban adventure and urban infiltration. By its nature, hacking is an outlaw activity, often involving a measure of risk and some illegal acts. There is an unofficial place-hacker code of conduct and an admirable acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s behavior, plus much preparation for the hairier deeds. Still, there are some seriously dangerous exploits recorded in these pages, from entering buildings that may harbor toxic wastes, unstable flooring or creatures unhappy with your visit—skunks, snakes—to scaling the outsides of skyscrapers. But there are also a host of activities that are unlikely to hospitalize or incarcerate the participant, from exploring the urban underground to parkour, a kind of nimble, freestyle run-and-leap through an urban landscape. Despite the disclaimer, “This book...is not intended to be a how-to guide,” there is a segment on staging an illegal exploration—but Rosen emphasizes the pleasure of discovery and the joy of participating in a sport with style and a goal of mastery.

From the cockamamie (extreme ironing) to daredevilry (rooftopping) to a fine day out (catacomb rambling), a taste of unbridled adventure for everyone. (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2515-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis

HIDDEN GIRL

THE TRUE STORY OF A MODERN-DAY CHILD SLAVE

This memoir of modern domestic slavery ends with hope and determination, as young author Hall (born Shyima El-Sayed Hassan) is “one of the fortunate 2 percent” to be freed from servitude.

Shyima’s childhood in Egypt ends when her parents are blackmailed into turning over their 8-year-old daughter to a wealthy couple. Every day, Shyima cleans the five-story house and the 17-car garage, “standing on a stool doing the dishes” because she’s too tiny to reach the sink. When she’s 10, Shyima’s captors move to California, illegally trafficking her into the U.S. After two more years of hard labor and increasing ill health, a worried neighbor calls the police, and Shyima’s journey into freedom begins. A chain of Muslim and Christian foster parents (some protective, others exploitative) leads her to become an anti-slavery activist. Unsurprisingly, Hall’s representations of Arab and Muslim men are filtered through her appalling experiences. Though she acknowledges misogyny “is not what the Muslim faith is about,” readers should expect to find depictions that hew closely to negative stereotypes. Those readers prepared to brave a dense, adult tome could move from Hall’s memoir to John Bowe’s Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy (2007) for a deeper look.

The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis . (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8168-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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An important story drowned in illegibility and exposition.

FORGIVENESS

THE STORY OF EVA KOR, SURVIVOR OF THE AUSCHWITZ TWIN EXPERIMENTS

A biography, in comic form, of a survivor of Josef Mengele’s horrific experiments on twins.

Eva and Miriam Mozes are twins, born in 1934 to the only Jewish family in their Romanian village. Though Papa, fearing the antisemitism of interwar Romania, wants the family to flee to safety in Palestine, Mama argues against it. And so it is that they are still in Romania when their home is invaded by Hitler’s ally, Hungary. Following an all-too-familiar story, the Mozes family is sent first to the ghetto and then on to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Torn away from their family, the girls are brought to Mengele for his nightmarish twin experiments. The graphic form mercifully makes it difficult to provide much detail of the stomach-churning tortures Mengele inflicted on those he found lesser, though the blocky illustrations certainly feature starvation, death, and disease. After the girls are liberated by the Soviets, they begin the second part of their ordeal: living with their trauma. Two extremely dense chapters detail the next 74 years, eventually building to the journey Eva would take late in her life toward liberating herself by forgiving the Nazis. This overstuffed survivor tale owes less to Maus than it does to the For Beginners series of graphic nonfiction. Dense blocks of historical play-by-play, ungainly prose, and hard-to-read lettering make this a slog.

An important story drowned in illegibility and exposition. (Graphic biography. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68435-178-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Red Lightning Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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