A compelling coming-of-age follow-up to Manic.




Cheney (Manic: A Memoir, 2008) writes with brutal honesty about her tumultuous childhood trapped in the clutches of the “Black Beast”—her metaphor for the out-of-control emotional states she now recognizes as early-childhood bipolar disorder.

The author begins with a disturbing incident that occurred when she was seven. When her brother refused to relinquish his seat at the dinner table, she rammed a fork through his hand. In answer to her father's query about her violent behavior, she answered honestly, “he made me do it.” In Cheney’s mind, “he” referred not to her brother but to the monster, who “lived inside my heart and head, leaving little room for hope or joy or any emotion lighter than sorrow.” The author was only diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her late 30s. Even though she had been jailed, hospitalized and suffered a series of broken relationships, she had managed to conceal her aberrant behavior and lead an apparently successful life as an entertainment attorney. In her debut memoir, Cheney chronicled her time in college and the years that followed; here she examines her childhood and adolescence for keys to the onset of her disorder. Despite the fact that an estimated 800,000 American children have been diagnosed as bipolar, the author explains that it is easy to confuse with other mental ailments such as ADHD, or even to simply overlook it. “Given the inherent volatility of childhood and the volcanic eruptions of adolescence, how can you tell when it's bipolar disorder?” she writes. “Early-onset bipolar disorder is notoriously difficult to diagnose.” In Cheney’s case, the fact that she was an honor student with a full social life caused her parents and teachers to overlook withdrawn or bizarre behavior. By exploring her past, she hopes to make parents and educators more aware of the problems that young people may be secretly trying to deal with.

A compelling coming-of-age follow-up to Manic.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-7621-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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