A revealing, heart-wrenching account about special needs adoption, the grave implications of prenatal and early childhood...

DOORWAY TO HEARTBREAK PATH TO HOPE

...OUR ADOPTION JOURNEY

Harper’s intimate memoir of one family’s special needs adoption journey.

Harper (I Choose to Fight, 1984), the family’s father, candidly reflects on his family’s horrific yet beautiful journey in this compelling, but sometimes difficult, account. Many times, it seems he and his wife, Rose, and their three typically developing biological children will collapse under the strain of providing for two traumatized adopted children while preserving their own personal safety and sanity. When it seems nothing else terrible can happen, it does, and the parents, particularly the mother, come through. The Harpers respond to a plethora of diagnoses: fetal alcohol effects, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and paranoid schizophrenia. These conditions require changing medications and multiple therapies, while navigating formidable bureaucracies to secure proper care for their children. Harper outlines the adoptees’ entire biological family background and the state foster care/adoption system without assessing blame, but he finally admits that he “had trouble accepting the responsibility.” When faced with institutionalizing their 12-year-old son, Harper notes that nobody told them about the severity of the child’s disabilities. The author’s honesty throughout the book, especially at his lowest points, garners the reader’s sympathy and respect. His conversational style works well when tackling such difficult subjects, including the adoptees’ sexual and substance abuse and their mental health diagnoses and treatment. Though his authority is hard to question, it’s somewhat lessened by a few typos that crop up throughout.

A revealing, heart-wrenching account about special needs adoption, the grave implications of prenatal and early childhood trauma, and the resilience of truly tough love and hope.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 501

Publisher: Publish Green

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

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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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