An inspiring, if overly cheerful, memoir.


A husband recounts his wife’s struggle with—and triumph over—cancer.

In 2003, while debut author Corner’s wife, Pam, was taking a walk with her future sister-in-law, she started to experience some discomfort in her chest and shortness of breath. She didn’t make much of it at first, but a trip to a doctor brought grim news: she had stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Armed with a battery of test results, the author and his wife went in search of a suitable physician, but initially, everyone they consulted delivered a bleak prognosis, bereft of hope. Then they found Dr. Sucai Bi, who, after ordering a bone marrow extraction, came up with a plan: chemotherapy, radiation, and a stem-cell transplant. Both the author and his wife took a hands-on approach to the medical process and became impressively knowledgeable about the human body—something that was a source of both pain and wonderment to them. Predictably, the aggressive treatments had a withering effect on Pam’s body; she lost weight, her hair, and her natural vivaciousness. But she never surrendered her optimism and fought relentlessly toward an ultimate recovery. Nearly six months later, Pam finally received an infusion of stem cells—a day that she now considers a symbol of renewal and that she now speaks of as a second birthday. After completing her remaining treatments, she regained her former robustness, and, in 2005, she was able to finish the New York City Marathon. The author’s remembrance is inarguably an inspiring one—despite daunting odds, the couple remained remarkably sanguine about their prospects. Corner’s prose, however, can be overwritten and sentimental at times (“Our heroine successfully traverses the vastness of the unknown as she meets the challenge of a lifetime”), and his accounts of exchanges with his three young daughters are cloyingly sweet. Indeed, the book’s unremitting hopefulness is simultaneously a strength and a weakness. There also isn’t much reflection of a darker nature—the text only sparingly confronts the issue of Pam’s mortality, for example—and as a result, this brief recollection may not resonate strongly with many other cancer survivors.

An inspiring, if overly cheerful, memoir.

Pub Date: March 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7491-0

Page Count: 108

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

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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 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...


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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