A low-key and authentic memoir.

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THE DOG STAYS IN THE PICTURE

LIFE LESSONS FROM A RESCUED GREYHOUND

One woman’s story of facing domestic changes in midlife with the assistance of an anxious dog.

As Morse (The Habit, 2011) prepared for her daughter and sons to head off to college, she looked forward to having time to write, visit with friends and spend time with her actor husband, who often spent months at a time away on set—“Life after children was going to be magic.” Then the author fell in love with a rescue greyhound, a retired racing dog, and all her well-laid plans went out the window. With humor and earnestness, Morse describes the two-plus years it took her to adjust to having a needy dog in the house, a dog that followed her everywhere and was distrustful of her husband and two sons for much of that time. Using the dog, named Lilly, as a reference point, Morse meanders through her past and present, sharing anecdotes about when her children were little, moments with her husband prior to kids, her anxiety over flying and her interactions with her Orthodox Christian mother. She reflects on how her husband broke down after he dropped one son off at college, the elaborate genealogy search she conducted on her family's ancestors, and her stress-filled days when she contracted Lyme disease. Lilly is the backdrop for all of these scenes and many more, and she even has her own voice at times, which might throw readers off a bit, but her viewpoint adds an interesting effect to the overall storyline. Lilly served as the anchor that unknowingly helped keep Morse on an even keel as she navigated and transitioned through the emotionally rocky waters of becoming an empty nester.

A low-key and authentic memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1497643932

Page Count: 219

Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 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...

NIGHT

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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