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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he...

LIVES OTHER THAN MY OWN

The latest from French writer/filmmaker Carrère (My Life as a Russian Novel, 2010, etc.) is an awkward but intermittently touching hybrid of novel and autobiography.

The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he describes powerfully. Carrère and his partner, Hélène, then return to Paris—and do so with a mutual devotion that's been renewed and deepened by all they've witnessed. Back in France, Hélène's sister Juliette, a magistrate and mother of three small daughters, has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that crippled her in adolescence. After her death, Carrère decides to write an oblique tribute and an investigation into the ravages of grief. He focuses first on Juliette's colleague and intimate friend Étienne, himself an amputee and survivor of childhood cancer, and a man in whose talkativeness and strength Carrère sees parallels to himself ("He liked to talk about himself. It's my way, he said, of talking to and about others, and he remarked astutely that it was my way, too”). Étienne is a perceptive, dignified person and a loyal, loving friend, and Carrère's portrait of him—including an unexpectedly fascinating foray into Étienne and Juliette's chief professional accomplishment, which was to tap the new European courts for help in overturning longtime French precedents that advantaged credit-card companies over small borrowers—is impressive. Less successful is Carrère's account of Juliette's widower, Patrice, an unworldly cartoonist whom he admires for his fortitude but seems to consider something of a simpleton. Now and again, especially in the Étienne sections, Carrère's meditations pay off in fresh, pungent insights, and his account of Juliette's last days and of the aftermath (especially for her daughters) is quietly harrowing.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9261-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

more