In My Own Words

A sudden accident forces a young man to rediscover basic skills, his family, and his religion.

Written in two parts, the first having been published as Ten Seconds in 2013, Goodrich’s memoir recounts how he was coming home to change after a baseball game when a stumble on the stairs resulted in a fractured skull and a 10-day coma. The seemingly simple accident robbed him of basic motor functions and left him with the devastating memory of being surrounded by his family in the hospital, unable to call out to them and feeling as if he was “going to be buried alive.” After major surgery, Goodrich awoke to a world where he could barely recognize his own family and had to endure grueling therapies. He describes them as not just frustrating, but “humiliating,” as he grappled with being a grown man who needed to relearn words like “cat” and “house.” The second, and previously unpublished, portion of the memoir follows Goodrich as he struggled to let go of the “security blanket” of the hospital and return to his parents’ home, overwhelmed by a mixture of joy for their welcome and fear that they remained largely unfamiliar to him. As time went on, Goodrich slowly became more comfortable, eventually returning to work, meeting his wife, having two children, and developing a strong faith in God. In telling his story, Goodrich has a tendency to overemphasize unnecessary information, relating extensive medical explanations and tiny details from the scenes he re-creates. When those scenes of nonrecognition and personal struggle get going, however, they can be candid, heartbreaking, and exceptionally insightful. His lucid descriptions often reveal an unexpected range of emotions that go far beyond the expected despair or determination found in similar stories. Overall, Goodrich manages to make the seemingly outlandish concept of amnesia feel powerfully real and the rather ordinary process of physical therapy feel fraught with complexities—a notable achievement. An inspirational story of recovery from a terrible injury that embraces complexity to great effect.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5320-0094-2

Page Count: 180

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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 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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