Eventually, a truly suspenseful scene occurs off the Pacific coast, but many readers will have bailed out before this payoff.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ICE

ONE FAMILY'S TREACHEROUS JOURNEY NEGOTIATING THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE

The story of Emmy Award–winning filmmaker Theobald’s adventures through the Northwest Passage, a sea route well known as a “ship killer.”

The author’s journey was fraught with potentially deadly icebergs, polar bears and other dangerous elements, but his brief retelling of the experience buries most of the quest’s unique moments in an avalanche of dead-end detours. However, there are moments worth remembering; the best scenes are those in which he ceases telling about how much the trip means to his family (“Dominique’s words of wonder and amazement over the growing connections with her brothers overrode the pressures and concerns of what we all were attempting to do”) and simply shows what happens. Accounts of the boat’s near misses with ice and run-ins with animals are mostly well-narrated and will hold readers’ attention, but irrelevant details bloat the book. As Theobald describes his worries about the tremendous financial burdens of the trip, he switches gears to describe minutiae such as the layers of dust on the air conditioner in a doctor’s office, where his injured toe makes the first of its many appearances. Once the journey is underway, blow-by-blow dialogue of squabbles among the crew combines with over-the-top monologues of frustration. Unfortunately, co-author Kreda (Tales from the Montreal Canadiens Locker Room, 2012, etc.) does not stop Theobald from cramming the book with unmet promises. Though he writes of spending a day alone, “deep soul-searching,” very little of this introspection makes it to the page.

Eventually, a truly suspenseful scene occurs off the Pacific coast, but many readers will have bailed out before this payoff.

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61608-623-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more