LOVE LIFTS THE HEART

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

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

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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