In the end, it’s not romance but something more elusive that Bloom finds: intimacy. Romance may wane as the quotidian...

ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB

A MEMOIR OF FINDING LOVE AT LAST

A veteran editor of romance novels at Harlequin delivers a witty memoir of her history with romance.

Unlike the novels she edits, her real-life relationships have been messy and the happy endings elusive. Bloom’s story begins at a private high school in Connecticut, when she invited “Harlequin-hero gorgeous” Kent to a formal dance only to be ditched, then rescued by the popular, “fiendishly cute” Sam, who swirls her around the dance floor and insisted they have their picture taken. The photo becomes an important factor later in the story. From high school to college to teaching to a successful editing career, readers follow the author’s quest for Mr. Right. She cleverly juxtaposes the conventions of romantic novels and movies with the challenges of maintaining a real relationship, avoiding maudlin territory. She chronicles her series of at-first-exciting but ultimately deficient boyfriends, and her encounters inspire a humorous contrast of romantic archetypes—“The Secretive Hero (Who May Be Hiding Something Really Bad),” “Dangerous and Sexy Alpha Male Heroes That Are Supposed to Have a Heart of Gold,” “The Beta Hero (Who Cooks and Isn’t a Tool)”—to their real-life counterparts. This is classic girls'-night-out dishing. Though the men in her memoir, with the exception of one, are more typecast than fully formed, the deeper thread here is the idea of self-evaluation and betterment. “This is the part of any romance novel that is never included, the mundane details, the forging ahead, the suffering that doesn’t involve pining for a boy,” she writes. Despite insecurities, Bloom, a survivor of a violent crime, reveals an inner strength and resolve to carry on.

In the end, it’s not romance but something more elusive that Bloom finds: intimacy. Romance may wane as the quotidian details of cohabitation intrude on hearts and flowers, but that’s when true love begins.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-525-95438-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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