A sad but inspiring tale of love and mourning.



A woman recounts the painful loss of two husbands to illness.

Debut author Melis’ husband of nearly 28 years, Joe, died of lung cancer, and shortly thereafter Melis’ father passed away as well. Stunned by grief, she joined a support group and sought solace in the counsel of a therapist. About two years later, she re-entered the world of dating, but her first foray was disastrous—Paul Caponigro was a peculiar combination of bland and coarse. But then she began to see John—a brilliant scientist deeply interested in wine and photography—and their relationship developed with surprising speed. John suffered from a rare form of cancer—Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia—but he’d managed it for nearly two decades and seemed robustly healthy and optimistic about a long future together. Although initially unsure of her feelings for John, Melis grew deeply close to him and finally asked him to marry her after only five months; he enthusiastically accepted. The author retired to free up time to work on her writing and to travel with her new husband—she describes their trips to Africa and France and their plans to visit the Galápagos Islands together. But John discovered bumps on his head that turned out to be tumors, and after surgery and a terrifying brush with death, he found his cancer to be ungovernable. Toward the very end, he contemplated a double suicide pact with Melis, a proposal she seemed to seriously entertain. She found an astonishingly resilient will to live, though, and rebounded yet again following John’s death. Melis’ stirring story is beautifully told, both philosophically reflective and emotionally poignant: “Joe had been like a symphony—strings, brass, wind, and percussion—largely agreeable, occasionally discordant, and always provocative. We had shared so much, and through it all, Joe had always been there for me. Without warning, the symphony had stopped, and the resulting silence was deafening. I had felt bereft.” Her account is also remarkably candid: she openly discusses her infidelity during her first marriage and sexual experimentation in her second. Despite the heartbreaking losses she endured, she manages to produce a life-affirming memoir detailing personal triumph. 

A sad but inspiring tale of love and mourning. 

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-938288-70-8

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Terra Nova

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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 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 19, 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...


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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