A powerful testimony to the determination and strength necessary to persevere despite assumptions, scrutiny, and societal...

A CERTAIN LONELINESS

A MEMOIR

A woman stricken with polio-borne limitations shares her physical and emotional challenges.

By the time she was 4, Lambert (The River’s Memory, 2014) required two surgeries and two body casts. In this memoir, she retraces the years when the struggle against loneliness and isolation at times became more disabling than polio’s assault on her spine and legs. With frank, lyrical prose, the author describes a painful, awkward youth in Norway as she became reliant on the bracing “contraption put on my legs at night that was supposed to untwist my bones.” Once her military family relocated back to America, she sought solace alone on the forest floor beneath a canopy of foliage and refracted sunlight. Lambert chronicles her high school years trying to appear “normal,” whatever that word means, and also delicately addresses the dual struggle of her physical disability coupled with her emerging sexuality and a reliance on alcohol to calm the residual anger, bitterness, and depression experienced after a relationship deteriorated. Lambert describes uncomfortable incidents in her 30s—e.g., navigating a public laundry facility where gawking, intrusive onlookers called her “so inspiring” or the ordeal of boarding a packed airplane. “There’s a mute button in my head for these moments,” writes the author. “I push it.” More positive events include the author’s camping trips in Florida and kayaking in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Lambert makes beautifully palpable the exquisite liberation she finally experienced when exchanging her braces and crutches for a manual (and then automatic) wheelchair. Each of these recollections is unhurriedly told and expressed with true introspection; the author knows herself well and shares thoughts, feelings, and impressions with grace and acute self-awareness. Readers will come away with a cleareyed portrait of the author through the stories of her joys, sorrows, and intimate impressions.

A powerful testimony to the determination and strength necessary to persevere despite assumptions, scrutiny, and societal stigmatization.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4962-0719-7

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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