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A courageous and compelling example of an author writing her “way out of the darkness.”

A writer and award-winning filmmaker’s account of how she fell into—and later escaped—an abusive relationship with the charismatic former attorney general of New York state.

When Selvaratnam met rising Democratic political star Eric Schneiderman in 2016, the attraction was immediate, and the texts and emails they exchanged in the weeks that followed became the prelude to a fairy-tale romance. At first, the author thought she had found a man whose transformational feminist values not only aligned with hers, but who seemed committed to defending the nation against what he knew would be Donald Trump’s inevitable “attacks on civil liberties and vulnerable communities.” However, the closer she became to Schneiderman, whose circle of acquaintances included Harvey Weinstein, the more he revealed his misogyny. An alcoholic who also combined Ambien and lorazepam, Schneiderman tried to control Selvaratnam and make himself the center of her life. His abuse also included nonconsensual, sexually sadistic behaviors such as spitting, slapping, choking, and calling her his “brown girl” slave. Terrified that “he and his people [would] try to crush me” if she spoke out, the author quietly confided in friends and her therapist. A domestic violence expert finally helped Selvaratnam, who struggled against crippling anxiety and memories of her father’s violence toward her mother, make a safe plan to leave. In the process, the author learned that the United States was “the tenth most dangerous place in the world for women” and discovered that many of Schneiderman’s associates knew about—and dismissed—his brutality. Selvaratnam then made the decision to go public with her story in the New Yorker, finding strength in the global chorus of voices that emerged as part of the #MeToo movement. Part survivor’s tale and part exposé of intimate violence, the book offers a candid, often frightening exploration of the diabolically schizophrenic ways that the patriarchy conspires to disempower women.

A courageous and compelling example of an author writing her “way out of the darkness.”

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-21424-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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