An affecting collection of correspondence by a grieving woman seeking healing and peace.

LOVE YOU LIKE THE SKY

SURVIVING THE SUICIDE OF A BELOVED

A guide to dealing with the suicide of a loved one.

In 2008, after the sudden death of her boyfriend, who threw himself in front of a train in Mountain View, California, Neustadter spiraled into seemingly hopeless depression. However, she was unwilling to inflict similar pain and despair on her own loved ones by taking her own life. Most of the self-help books that she consulted left her with the feeling of being “talked to and coached at, not joined with,” particularly as her main desire was to reconnect with the person whom she lost. In a peculiarly 21st-century response to this feeling, she began writing emails to his former Yahoo! Mail account. The result is this book, the author’s nonfiction debut, in which she groups the emails she wrote into larger categories, such as “Despair,” “Shifting,” and “Beauty,” and adds her own extensive insights on emotional crisis and personal recovery, guided by her experience as a transpersonal psychologist. The author intends her book as “a companion in grief for any survivor left behind without his or her beloved,” and she supplements her personal reflections with a section on spiritual practices and grief resources. However, the heart of the book, and its most memorable element, are the messages to the author’s late boyfriend, which effectively flesh him out as an individual and underscore the immediacy of Neustadter’s pain after losing him: “You became everyone’s favorite,” she writes in an email about their early days together. “How could we resist your white Mickey Mouse hoodie no grown man should ever wear and your big, innocent blue eyes, so light, like the sky?” This device is an effective one, and every one of Neustadter’s readers will immediately sympathize with it; that said, this particular method of grieving may not be a healthy choice for everyone.

An affecting collection of correspondence by a grieving woman seeking healing and peace.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943006-88-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Spark Press

Review Posted Online: April 3, 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 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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