Pulls readers into its rhythm as it chronicles the author’s eventful life.

Poet and playwright Sherman’s attempt to demystify the 1960s, based on the author’s personal experiences.

The reader enters the story haphazardly, at a time when Sherman was disoriented, not yet realizing the significance of the decade. Upon her arrival in Berkeley, Calif., at the end of the ’50s, in the thick of a political-resistance movement, the author was unsettled and inexperienced. As a result, her recollections are a bit disjointed, and the narrative bears the mark of a poet, a form of identity Sherman quickly self-applied after a move to New York City. Her words read like prose poetry—expressive, reactionary and meandering, which makes the bulk of her story, told in a series of two- and three-page chapters, seem haphazard and overwrought. But as she details her years spent in Berkeley, New York and Cuba, she justifies her stylistic choices, citing the inconsistencies of memory and asserting that poetry is sometimes the only way to truly put an incident into words, to allow the reader to feel her numerous diverse experiences. Sherman participated in nonviolent protests, read poetry with Allen Ginsberg and Grace Paley, discussed rebellion with Fidel Castro and founded IKON magazine, and readers follow the author through the resistance against the Vietnam War, the communist scare and the birth of the women’s movement.

Pulls readers into its rhythm as it chronicles the author’s eventful life.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-931896-35-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Curbstone Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007


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



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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