Its unique locale and positive outlook make this a welcome addition to parenting collections, though the brevity leaves...

LOVE LIFTS THE HEART

Crapser Hunt gives a glimpse of farm life in conjunction with raising a Down syndrome child in her work of nonfiction.

Life on the dairy farm was difficult enough before Crapser Hunt’s fourth son, Bobby, was born with special needs in 1965. Lacking resources and facing indifference from her husband and extended family, she copes day to day. Written in the style of a journal and including photographs, the book shares the author’s feelings of being overwhelmed by the farm and the hard work it requires as she must also act as primary caregiver to Bobby. Short chapters also cover education, home tutoring and the value of small chores. Other complications faced by the family include various hospitalizations, successive pregnancies and the questionable sufficiency of one bathroom in a household of six kids. Eventually the author moves toward her goal of writing a book by taking a correspondence course. The brevity of the text illustrates the stoicism of farm life, creating poignancy in what is not said—between the lines regret mixes with acceptance. The drawback of this stoicism, though, is a lack of detail. Sometimes the work takes on the tone of a family Christmas letter, narrating a general outline of events without delving too deeply. But the book is strongest when discussing Bobby and the associated challenges. The author also reprints two poems by others, “Heaven’s Very Special Child” by Edna Massimilla and Rita Dranginis’ “Just Smile,” that have given her courage along the way. A quick and engaging read, Crapser Hunt’s story provides support to those in similar situations and is a good place to turn to at the end of a bad day when a caregiver feels discouraged and alone.

Its unique locale and positive outlook make this a welcome addition to parenting collections, though the brevity leaves readers wanting more.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1450014106

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 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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