An ultimately hopeful journey through hardship.



Rosenthal’s memoir recounts her restless travels and how she came to understand her family’s burden of historical trauma.

In two previous books, Lina’s Love: Postcards and Poems from Hugo and Searching for Hugo (both 2014), Rosenthal investigated her paternal grandparents’ courtship and marriage. Now she tells her own story. Born in Palestine in 1947, Rosenthal and her older brother grew up in harsh surroundings: desert heat, poor food and housing, mean kids, and critical parents. In 1957, the family moved to the United States, where Rosenthal excelled in school but had few friends. She won a full college scholarship to SUNY Stony Brook, but her parents saw it as selfishness. When she chose a different summer job over working at the family’s Dairy Queen franchise, “my mother said I was no longer her daughter.” After graduating, Rosenthal traveled to Berkeley, Europe, Africa, and India, finally returning to Berkeley; she fell in love with dance, was healed by yoga, had a baby, and pursued further education. Though often financially stressed, she inched her way upward, her progress captured in one chapter title: “From Welfare Mom to Molecular Biologist.” Rosenthal tells her story well, with many colorful descriptions of culture, people, foods, and scenery. Illuminating anecdotes and deft character sketches bring her subjects alive. In Amsterdam, she met Mitsutaka Ishi, an “impenetrable” Japanese dancer and teacher who “would say things like, ‘When you lift your arm, you must give birth to a universe under your armpit.’ ” The book offers interest as a historical travel narrative as well as autobiography. For example, she writes about South Africa under apartheid: “…we realized that these people were not cruel, or stupid….they were insane.” While hitchhiking, they always got a ride and were often invited in: “We would be served a fine dinner by a barefoot houseboy in rags, while our hosts discussed the inferiority of the African people.” Though still pained by childhood episodes, Rosenthal fairly weighs her parents’ harsh treatment against their fears and weaknesses, and her final assessment of her life—quiet contentment—seems well-earned.

An ultimately hopeful journey through hardship.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0982890806

Page Count: 262

Publisher: NaoMinRose

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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