A detailed, deftly told narrative that will shock even the stoutest readers.

READ REVIEW

MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS

THE JOURNEY OF A DAMAGED WOMAN TO SOMEPLACE NORMAL

The disturbing account of real-life physical and sexual child abuse and its long-lasting effects.

Escaping into a world of fiction often provides a welcome diversion: the forces of good triumphing over evil and an ending that pleasantly satisfies. This book will not leave you with that feeling. The brutal account includes graphic descriptions of child abuse, both sexual and physical, and is not for the faint of heart. Instead of supernatural or larger-than-life “bad guys,” the demons who haunt the story of Fulks’ childhood are all too real. To her credit, Fulks weaves a compelling narrative with commanding prose and unforgivingly detailed descriptions of truly horrifying experiences. As she moves past her childhood, she intensely describes how her experiences colored even the ordinary aspects of her life, from dating to marriage and even having children. Although there are a few bright spots in her story, the overall tone is indisputably bleak; readers won’t come away believing in the power of positivity. But for being so concerned with issues as serious as those raised here, the narrative maintains a refreshing outlook: Without sugarcoating the problems, Fulks trusts the reader enough to lay everything out on the table, no matter how gruesome or shocking. The horrors described are truly harrowing, but if readers can make it through, they’ll likely come away changed and perhaps with a sharper perspective on the terrible long-term effects of child abuse. The reality might just be too real.

A detailed, deftly told narrative that will shock even the stoutest readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477646557

Page Count: 434

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE BEST OF ME

A welcome greatest-hits package from Sedaris.

It’s not easy to pick out fact from fiction in the author’s sidelong takes on family, travel, relationships, and other topics. He tends toward the archly droll in either genre, both well represented in this gathering, always with a perfectly formed crystallization of our various embarrassments and discomforts. An example is a set piece that comes fairly early in the anthology: the achingly funny “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” with its spot-on reminiscence of taking a French class with a disdainful instructor, a roomful of clueless but cheerful students, and Sedaris himself, who mangles the language gloriously, finally coming to understand his teacher’s baleful utterances (“Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section”) without being able to reply in any way that does not destroy the language of Voltaire and Proust. Sedaris’ register ranges from doggerel to deeply soulful, as when he reflects on the death of a beloved sibling and its effects on a family that has been too often portrayed as dysfunctional when it’s really just odd: “The word,” he writes, “is overused….My father hoarding food inside my sister’s vagina would be dysfunctional. His hoarding it beneath the bathroom sink, as he is wont to do, is, at best, quirky and at worst unsanitary.” There’s not a dud in the mix, though Sedaris is always at his best when he’s both making fun of himself and satirizing some larger social trend (of dog-crazy people, for instance: “They’re the ones who, when asked if they have children, are likely to answer, ‘A black Lab and a sheltie-beagle mix named Tuckahoe’ ”). It’s a lovely mélange by a modern Mark Twain who is always willing to set himself up as a shlemiel in the interest of a good yarn.

One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-62824-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more