The story of a marriage told with little variation.



In this debut novel, a disillusioned wife seeks to make her voice heard.

After a year in England, newlyweds Jacob and Susan Wells return to their native Caribbean island to have their first child. They move in with Jacob’s mother, Adassa, to save money while he opens a drugstore. He plans to give the store to Adassa so that she has a way of providing for herself and Jacob’s younger siblings. The pregnant Susan hopes that Jacob’s family will make good company. But it turns out Adassa is wildly jealous of Susan’s position in Jacob’s life: He “planned it all out to provide financially for his mother and her children so he could leave them. But financial support doesn’t seem enough for Adassa. She wants the man. She wants Jacob to be her surrogate spouse and forever support her home and raise her children.” Jacob and Susan finally have enough money to move into their own apartment, but soon after having a second child, she learns that he has been keeping a mistress. Susan confronts him and tries to make the marriage work. After they have a third child, Jacob—poorly adjusted due to Adassa’s strange mothering—becomes increasingly abusive. The frustrated Susan turns to writing letters to the newspaper on the subjects of marriage and parenthood, and she quickly gains a following. If she can’t control what’s happening in her own family, can she perhaps fix the institution of marriage at the national level? Mildower’s depiction of Susan and Jacob’s frayed marriage feels true to life—the author even admits that it’s based on a real story. But his prose style is highly expositional, and the novel contains long passages of summary (rendered, for some reason, in the present tense) with very little dialogue: “Jacob is very insensitive to any need in the home other than physical need, and her emotions are being constantly challenged. Meanwhile, she is intent on meeting the emotional needs of her children (born and unborn).” This distance will make it difficult for readers to engage emotionally with the intriguing characters.

The story of a marriage told with little variation.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-4959-7

Page Count: 170

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: March 11, 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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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