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Illuminating and entertaining.

A writer and illustrator reveals how she went from serial monogamist to happily married polyamorist.

Johnson grew up with parents who had a “model nuclear relationship.” After almost 50 years, it was still as strong as it had been when they married at age 20. So it was no surprise that the author’s early ideas about love and sex were largely shaped by conventional norms. Throughout her adolescence, Johnson engaged in courtship rituals without ever considering that other relationship options might be as—or even more—fulfilling as a heterosexual coupling. In college, she found herself emotionally drawn to women. The intensity of Johnson's feelings inspired her to follow one friend to Chicago and fall into nonsexual love with a woman named Hannah when she was later living in New Orleans. The emotional attraction for Hannah was intense enough that she eventually felt the need to explain just how important it was to the people she was dating. Desiring more freedom and autonomy than a conventional relationship would allow, the author began having relationships that allowed her to not only date other men, but also spend significant time with the women close to her. In her refreshingly candid and provocative narrative, Johnson seeks to present polyamory as a practice that is about “emotional consideration and communication” rather than selfish and unrestrained libertinism. The book mirrors her lifestyle in the unconventionality of its presentation. In addition to including a polyamory FAQ at the beginning of the book, the author adds a dash of humor and incisive observation to almost every page of her text with comic book–style drawings. She also peppers her work with statistics and thoughtful commentary on the history and culture of polyamory. Johnson’s multipronged approach not only demystifies a much-maligned and misunderstood practice; it also makes for enjoyable, accessible reading.

Illuminating and entertaining.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8978-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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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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