A candid and uplifting musical memoir.

A noted percussionist and singer gets personal about her life and rise to fame and fortune.

From a very early age, Escovedo seemed destined to have a musical career. As an infant, the pounding of her percussionist-father Pete Escovedo’s drums “felt like the heartbeat of [her] life.” Though sports were the author’s earliest passion, the older she got, the more music became the outlet for the bitterness, guilt and anger she felt at being raped by a babysitter at age 5 and molested by male cousins for six years after that. Drawn to gangs as a young teenager, Escovedo found salvation in athletics and music. Two years later, she got her first big break when world-famous drummer Billy Cobham asked her to tour with him. At 18, she began a “life-altering” relationship with Carlos Santana. Their association ended when Escovedo discovered he was married, but her own musical star continued to ascend. Soon, she found herself playing backup for such legends as Diana Ross, Chaka Khan and Marvin Gaye. She joined forces with Prince, the second great love of her life, in the early 1980s. He helped her step out of the shadows and become Sheila E., a star in her own right. But money and notoriety took their tolls. Without her realizing it, she became a “mean, demanding and angry” diva. A breakup with Prince and breakdown of her own body led Escovedo to face her past sexual traumas. In the aftermath, she dedicated her life to God and to helping abused and disadvantaged children find “a means of processing their pain” through music. As a chronicle of one woman’s path through the male-dominated worlds of Latin music, soul, funk and pop, Escovedo’s book, written with Holden, is interesting and unique, but its greatest appeal will be to fans who know her best as Sheila E.

A candid and uplifting musical memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1494-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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