Maintains a charming folksiness, but readers must tolerate an excess of exclamation points, stories about the family dog and...

FOREVER!

THEY'LL ALL BE THERE - WON'T THEY?

A lengthy meditation on the meaning of one man’s life from debut author Droppo.

Why do cities need to write so many parking tickets when there are much bigger crimes taking place? Why do people put so much time and effort into religion when their prayers never seem to be answered? How does a yellow Labrador retriever make its way to being a controlling influence in a family even though it’s just a dog? Having lived some 60 years, the author has decided to tackle these and many other questions. The author tracks his development through his school years, adulthood and second marriage and shares a variety of his observations, embarrassments, triumphs and things that just bother him. As he states time and again, “Some things are just too wrong!!!” A fan of both bold print and exclamation points, Droppo eschews subtlety. The author—clinging to no particular ideology or stereotype—riffs on whatever occurs to him in a process that flows with surprising smoothness. He’s not a fan of books (“I’m not an accomplished, experienced writer or journalist. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even read a book since public school!”), but he’s a confirmed letter writer. In fact, his book is essentially an open letter to the world that blends rant, memoir and philosophical ramblings. The book’s nearly 600 pages meander through funny and touching personal reflections on family and friends, although many sentences seem slapdash: “She mentioned something about using a forty thousand dollar SUV for a bait wagon, and McGivering this and McGivering that, and then several other unrelated things that seemed to be of immediate interest to her all of a sudden.” However, few will complain that the author has an agenda outside of telling his own story, no matter how flawed or convoluted its presentation.

Maintains a charming folksiness, but readers must tolerate an excess of exclamation points, stories about the family dog and complaints about the difficulty of crossing the Canadian–American border. 

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1467035156

Page Count: 544

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2012

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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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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