Fans of Reynolds and Fisher should be pleased by this satisfyingly rich look at their lives, in which the shocking bits are...

MY GIRLS

A LIFETIME WITH CARRIE AND DEBBIE

In an even-keeled and affectionate memoir, the son of Debbie Reynolds and brother of Carrie Fisher looks back on a life with two feisty women, who died within a day of each other in December 2016.

Raised by a mother who was equal parts workaholic and alcoholic, and who was fiercely dedicated to her children, Fisher—a director, cinematographer, and producer—and his sister grew up in a household with servants to spare. It was a place where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were apt to drop by for cocktails and elephants were brought in for birthday parties. Once, Reynolds allowed Todd to bring an entire Western city stage set from the MGM lot, where it was about to be bulldozed into oblivion, and reassemble it in the backyard so that he and his friends could shoot Westerns. The good times came to an end when Reynolds learned that her second husband, Harry Karl, had been embezzling her money and squandering it on gambling and bad investments. The author details his mother's increasingly frantic efforts to stay solvent, including long stretches of performances in Las Vegas and on Broadway, and he is as frank about her business failures as he is about his sister's struggles with mental illness and drug abuse. Cheerful and unreflective, Fisher appears to let much of the family drama wash over him without drowning in it. “If you haven't noticed, I don't spend a lot of time psychoanalyzing things,” he notes. The book, which the author describes as “a long love letter and thank-you note to the two most pivotal, extraordinary women I've ever known,” is thoroughly illustrated with family photos.

Fans of Reynolds and Fisher should be pleased by this satisfyingly rich look at their lives, in which the shocking bits are always mitigated by love and understanding.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279231-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

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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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