by Michael Schnabel ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2023
A remarkable, hope-filled account of triumphing over a serious illness.
Awards & Accolades
This debut memoir follows a father and his family in the Midwest joining the battle against the cancer attacking his daughter.
In 2005, Schnabel and his wife, Colleen, were excited to hear that they would be new grandparents. But before long, their expectant daughter, Stephanie, was racked with serious abdominal pains and some bleeding. While she believed this was cancer, she told no one and refused any medical testing that might put her unborn baby at risk. The 27-year-old sixth grade teacher and her architect husband, Mark, soon welcomed a healthy son. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s pain and bleeding hardly let up, and a doctor finally diagnosed her with colon cancer. She needed not only surgery, but months of chemotherapy at a Kansas cancer research center as well. It was an arduous and often scary fight, but not one that she had to handle alone. Her family became a “Team of Five”—Stephanie with her parents, her husband, and even her baby boy, Caden. They supported and championed her through each of her treatments while getting updates on her condition that weren’t always promising. Friends and colleagues were equally encouraging, including someone at the architectural firm giving his vacation days to Mark and neighbors starting a fund to help cover medical bills. Schnabel had to watch his daughter suffer and sometimes doubted whether she would make it past her illness. But as Stephanie vowed to see Caden grow and be there for his first day of school, she proved she had the strength and fortitude to survive.
Despite Stephanie’s harrowing journey to becoming cancer-free, Schnabel puts a positive spin on events in this autobiography. Periodic “life lessons,” for example, are consistently upbeat and inspiring, even if they’re familiar—“Find joy in simple things” and sincerely apologize after saying something hurtful to “begin the healing.” Although part of a family of devout Roman Catholics, the author doesn’t evangelize, opting to push a more universal message of staying optimistic even in the bleakest times. Humorous bits alleviate the grave subject matter. Schnabel praises Caden’s “job of eating, sleeping, pooping, and providing ongoing entertainment,” and owns up to the “grandparent delusion” that his grandson is the “best looking, smartest, and most talented child ever.” Still, this book provides a lucid, engrossing view of what it’s like to fight a merciless disease. The waiting room, for example, sparked a potpourri of experiences and feelings, from happy moments to restlessness, with the most headstrong individual not immune to an emotional breakdown. Alongside Stephanie’s tumor-removing surgeries and bouts of chemo, the author relates highlights of her life—including memories that just popped in his head at the time. Schnabel evokes sympathy in a sublimely understated way, as he recalls the lackluster driving lesson he gave her and when, as a girl, she first exhibited her lifelong fear of needles. There’s plenty in this candid memoir that readers can apply to their own lives, which the author essentially summarizes in his closing, supplying a series of tips to overcoming a “medical challenge.”A remarkable, hope-filled account of triumphing over a serious illness.
Pub Date: March 23, 2023
Page Count: 314
Publisher: Armin Lear Press
Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2023
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.
Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Pub Date: July 12, 2022
Page Count: 192
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022
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by Pamela Anderson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 31, 2023
A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.
The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.
According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.
Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023
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