An episodic, sometimes-moving remembrance.


A memoir of vignettes about clothing and accessories.

Lesser (Who’s Going to Watch My Kids?, 2015, etc.) begins her story in 1987, when she was entering eighth grade. Her parents decided to move her from a small Quaker school to a prep school near Princeton University, and Lesser struggled hard to fit in. She begged her mother to buy her the kind of signet ring the popular prep school kids had, and her mother finally relented. The ring becomes the first of a series of talismans that ground the author’s life experiences; they also form the structure of this memoir, in which each chapter is dedicated to a specific item. Later chapters center on a summer camp necklace, a handbag, indoor scarves, yoga bracelets, and other objects. Along the way, each article takes on symbolic significance; for example, an Elsa Peretti gold-heart necklace packaged in a Tiffany box, which Lesser’s parents gave to her on her 16th birthday, came to represent her search for love in high school and college, and a pair of funky Chan Luu earrings represented the true love that blossomed with her husband. At another point, a Kate Spade bag is shown be emotionally entangled with her marketing career in New York City. Some readers may be put off by the privileged perspective of this account, which is repeatedly demarcated by shopping trips to luxury retailers. Overall, the memoir may resonate most with readers who are fans of social media accounts that focus on lifestyle and motherhood. Lesser writes with a sense of humor and a strong, clear voice that brings to mind aspirational chick-lit novels. Her reflections on coping with the death of a parent are particularly poignant, as she uses a scarf, given to her by her dying mother, to represent her parent’s wish for her to be happy.

An episodic, sometimes-moving remembrance.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-622-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 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 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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