Despite occasional snags, this spiritual account delivers a brisk, sincere look at a volatile life.

LOST GIRL

A SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH

A debut memoir chronicles one woman’s tumultuous coming-of-age in California.

Harte begins her story with a traumatic event in 1995. The author awoke with trouble speaking. She was soon rushed to the hospital with difficulty breathing. Before it was all over, she suffered cardiac arrest and experienced a vision of hell with its terrible sounds of “people screaming from unimaginable torture.” Readers are then taken back to Harte’s early days. She grew up in Florida in the 1960s. Her parents separated while she was still young, though she got along well with her stepfather. She also spent summers with her grandparents on Long Island. Later, she dropped out of college after a few months and went to live with her wealthy, eccentric father in California. There, she experimented with drugs, become pregnant at the age of 19, and married her first husband while he was still in jail. Her adult life would involve plenty of time at the beach, rocky relationships, and even a foray into acting. Through the ups and downs, she eventually found herself drawn to Christianity and the idea of serving others. She would go on to volunteer with a charity group in Africa and be deeply touched by her experiences there. The story of Harte’s life moves in a swift, casual manner. “Let me explain,” the author asserts before revealing how she discovered she was married to an alcoholic. And while the informal tone is inviting, certain portions are more captivating than others. Harte’s struggles to get rid of a shoddy home in Malibu are not quite as memorable as, say, her recollections of life with a father who chose to wear a different color jumpsuit every day. But most notable are the many important lessons she learned. Does the author regret her decision to drop out of college, move to California, and become a mother at such a young age? As she points out, “Maybe no matter where life takes you, the experiences are the same; just the players are different.” In the end, her bumpy path has made her the adult she is today. Her final advice is simple yet earnest: “There is hope for everyone.”        

Despite occasional snags, this spiritual account delivers a brisk, sincere look at a volatile life.

Pub Date: March 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-4008-5

Page Count: 230

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2019

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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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