BOTH SIDES NOW

A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, LOSS AND BOLD LIVING

Wrenching yet eloquent and fiercely hopeful.

A blogger and keynote speaker’s debut memoir about losing her young husband to cancer and the struggle to rebuild her life.

Sharp’s marriage to her beloved first husband, Brett, seemed all but inevitable. Both “had grown up in neighboring towns with both parents still together and mutual friends of all ages.” But when Brett was diagnosed with brain cancer just three years later, the pair faced the defining challenge of their marriage. He survived chemotherapy and went into remission, but radiation caused permanent baldness, a case of severe neuropathy and other health issues. Both decided to start a family despite the pall of uncertainty that the cancer had spread over their lives, and in vitro fertilization allowed Sharp to become pregnant with twins. However, within days of giving birth, they learned that Brett’s cancer had returned. For two and a half years, Sharp was brutally squeezed between managing new motherhood and caring for a rapidly declining spouse. Eventually, Brett succumbed to the disease, and healing from a death that had taken place over seven of their 11 years of marriage proved extremely difficult. Sharp had to deal with her own grief as well as that of two small, frightened children, who could not understand that their father was never coming back again. The author moved to Denver, where, after reading an article on eligible bachelors in a local magazine, she sent an email to Steve Saunders, who had lost his own wife to cancer and was himself the father of two teenage sons. Through dating, and eventually marrying, a widower with experiences so like her own, and then learning how to live in a blended family, Sharp came to her most powerful realization: While it would never be possible to completely “balance the scales” after a loss of the kind she suffered, she could still rededicate herself to living life to the fullest.

Wrenching yet eloquent and fiercely hopeful.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9839378-6-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Books & Books Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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