With heart-rending precision, Sonnenberg offers an eloquent narrative that not only exposes but embraces the fraught nature...

SHE MATTERS

A LIFE IN FRIENDSHIPS

The intimate, often unsparing reflections of a woman writer on a lifetime of friendships with other women.

Early on, essayist Sonnenberg (Her Last Death, 2008) learned, from the troubled mother who thought nothing of snorting cocaine in front of her and her sister and then confiding to them about her sexual exploits, that women were not only "fierce, supreme and capable," but also "devious and cunning.” The other girls and women who entered Sonnenberg's life would have other lessons for her. One of the first friends she made as a child taught her that it was possible to have "no drama at all" in a relationship with another female. Others, like the girls she met in boarding school, became role models, comforters and confidantes. They helped Sonnenberg navigate a turbulent adolescence that included an affair with a married teacher and other sexual betrayals. Two young women brought the author into an awareness of females as objects of desire. As an adult, Sonnenberg had many passionate friendships, only to either outgrow them or be outgrown by them. When she married and became a mother, the challenges she faced in her relationships with other women increased. Not only was she still trying to fulfill her yearning for lasting connections with other females who also lived complicated lives, she was also confronted with having to "rewrite…my previous definition of motherhood" and grow beyond the example her own mother had set for her.

With heart-rending precision, Sonnenberg offers an eloquent narrative that not only exposes but embraces the fraught nature of women's relationships with each other.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9058-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

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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