GLORIA ESTEFAN

In the ``Hispanics of Achievement'' series, a biography of the popular Cuban-American singer. The book opens promisingly with an informative essay by Professor Rodolfo Cardona on the influence of Hispanics and their culture on American life. Unfortunately, Estefan's life never receives such close scrutiny in Stefoff's text; instead, the unblemished star image is preserved. Early difficulties—the burden of caring for a proud, invalid father; shyness and weight problems as a teenager and young woman—are only touched on. The lack of personal photos exacerbates the superficial, distancing tone: there are no photos of Gloria as a child, and stock photos of storefronts and parades in Miami's Little Havana take the place of a chubby young Estefan singing. The bulk of the book is consumed with a long history of Miami Sound Machine while the ostensible subject is lost amid the other details, making it hard to distinguish Gloria's contributions from her husband's in the band's success. Only the singer's famous bus accident is well covered; here, at least, a strong personality clearly emerges. Despite appearances, this is less an in-depth study than a mass-market book directed at the artist's fans. Discography; chronology; further reading; index. (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: June 14, 1991

ISBN: 0-7910-1244-1

Page Count: 104

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1991

Categories:

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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