An invigorating breath of fresh air.



The Emmy-winning star of Everybody Loves Raymond pens an engaging, effervescent story of her life.

Heaton’s humor occasionally lapses into strained wisecracking, and she repeats some details, but these are minor flaws in that rare thing—an upbeat memoir that doesn’t obsess about the rough times but instead is beguilingly sensible and wise about what’s important: the author’s family, faith, and craft. “I suffer from an early childhood malady that’s more common than you’ve been led to believe,” she begins. “I call it Way Too Normal and Happy Upbringing Syndrome.” Born and raised in a suburban Cleveland house filled with laughter, she belonged, like many of her neighbors, to a large, Catholic family. The local children played together, building snow forts in winter and picking berries along the rail track in summer, knowing that they could stay outside unsupervised until the streetlights came on. Her father was a sportswriter for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer; her mother, a homemaker who read widely, especially theology, died from an aneurysm when Heaton was 12. But the family held together, and Heaton now realizes that “bad breaks are not the worst things that can happen to you.” As she details her bumpy road to stardom—in New York she waited tables, proofread on the graveyard shift at Morgan Stanley, and washed her hair with shampoo samples handed out on the street—the actress also describes her religious journey from staunch Catholicism to staunch Presbyterianism. After moving to Los Angeles, she married, had four sons, and began to get the parts that matter—and pay. Though she loves acting, Heaton also loves her kids and admits it’s tough to raise them in present-day La-La Land: “Life was simpler in Cleveland. Parents were only expected to feed, clothe, house and educate their kids. Today you’re supposed to raise their self-esteem, give them piano and tae kwon do lessons, and teach them to download research for their kindergarten report.”

An invigorating breath of fresh air.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-50871-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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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 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...


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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