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Inspiring and informative. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen)

Courageous, honest, painful, yearning, and occasionally even funny, the unexpurgated diaries and journals of poet and novelist Plath show a woman struggling to develop her talent against the social constraints of her day.

Don’t look for fresh scandal here; the few scandalous moments were reported earlier this year with the publication of the British edition, and (as most Plath readers know) the journals preceding her suicide were destroyed. Look instead for the slow, day-by-day maturing of a romantic, somewhat silly girl into a sensitive, hard-working, valiant woman, who coped frequently with bouts of depression, bemoaned that she was “doomed” to be a woman, and battled the “shoulds” and “musts” that were the heritage of her era and her gender. Edited by Kukil, the Smith College curator responsible for the Sylvia Plath Collection, this edition begins as Plath is about to enter Smith in 1950 and continues to the end of 1959. There are no entries for her stay in a psychiatric institution, novelized in The Bell Jar, or for her senior year at Smith. There are a few fragments as late as 1962, describing the birth of her second child at home. These so-called fragments, gathered in 15 appendices, contain some lengthy notes of trips, a hospital stay, drawings, and vignettes of neighbors and friends. Among the new material is the occasionally tedious diary of a year teaching at her alma mater (including some acid comments about colleagues), plus notes on her 1959 sessions with a therapist (where she describes herself as “thrilled” to be given permission “to hate one’s mother”). Plath loved cooking and clothes, and there are details of meals and her wardrobe (as well as romances and sexual encounters) throughout, along with avowals of her love and admiration for her husband, Ted Hughes. Extensive notes identify the people mentioned in the journals.

Inspiring and informative. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-72025-4

Page Count: 752

Publisher: Anchor

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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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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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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