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: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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 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...


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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