Bold, raw, and courageous.

MY SISTER

HOW ONE SIBLING'S TRANSITION CHANGED US BOTH

An award-winning TV actress and her trans sister tell the story of how they learned to navigate the difficult, often troubled waters of gender transition.

A year after Selenis’ mother and father became foster parents, they took in—and later adopted—a child named Jose. Immediately, Selenis noticed he was different. As a baby, “his cry was desperate,” as though he was already “struggl[ing] with his existence.” In a three-part narrative that moves between Selenis and her adopted sibling, the pair offer an intimate, often moving account of their journey toward loving acceptance of each other. Part I deals with the years before that sibling's transition into Marizol. Using masculine pronouns and Marizol’s male deadname, Selenis recalls how Jose loved to play with hair and makeup. Despite Selenis’ support, he still faced pressure from his adopted family to conform to a masculine gender identity. Seeking answers and support from social media and elsewhere, Jose first identified as gay before coming out to Selenis. But a question she posed—“did [he] want to be a woman?”—catapulted Jose into the period of transition and self-acceptance, which the authors cover in parts II and III. Moving beyond the confines of his Bronx Latinx community, contact with other trans individuals proved liberating. However, transitioning into Marizol meant facing often painful, sometimes dangerous circumstances. In and out of Selenis’ life, Marizol turned to sex work to support herself and later experienced abuse at the hands of a sadistic boyfriend. Meanwhile, Selenis’ work as a TV actress (most notably on Orange Is the New Black) brought her into contact with trans actor and activist Laverne Cox, who helped her better understand Marizol’s struggles. Determined to help her sister, Selenis brought her sister to a New York LGBTQ center where Marizol could safely come into her own. Fiercely honest, this book not only chronicles a harrowing journey to self-acceptance; it also celebrates an interpersonal love that transcends the bounds of blood and family.<

Bold, raw, and courageous.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-6295-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bold Type Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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