TOMI

A CHILDHOOD UNDER THE NAZIS

One of the éminences grises of children’s literature recasts memoirs originally published in French and German for this lively, sardonic account of the multiple occupations of his native Alsace in WWII. Ungerer views those “absurd and tragic times” from both adult and childish perspectives, recalling his mother’s taste for practical jokes and unfailing ability to charm her way around the demands of officialdom, describing the radical changes imposed on every aspect of daily life by the Nazis and the quiet, clever Alsatian resistance, regarding all of the armies, including the “gallinaceous” French and aloof, insensitive American, as invaders—if sometimes welcome ones. Due in part to his own family’s habit of never throwing anything away, and in part to gifts from readers of the foreign-language editions, the author supplies a mind-boggling array of illustrations: photos, postcards, cartoons, advertisements, stamps, posters, old school assignments, childhood drawings, propaganda leaflets, souvenirs, and more, many reproduced in full-color, nearly all at least partly translated in explanatory captions. Ungerer does not deny the prison camps, anti-Semitism, and general terror of the experience, but serves up more tributes here than indictments—and by looking for the humor, or at least the irony, in every situation, he effectively demonstrates the triumph of spirit over circumstance. (Memoir. 11-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-57098-163-9

Page Count: 188

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore...

LIKE BROTHERS

A quirky inside portrait of brotherhood within the “insane Hollywood system.”

Marx, Coen, Farrelly. Add to that list the Duplass brothers, who have been carving out a place for themselves as writers, directors, producers, and actors (Mark in The League, Jay in Transparent, etc.). In her foreword to this jumpy, eclectic collection of odds and ends, Mindy Kaling writes that the brothers are funny, “woke as hell,” and have a “tireless entrepreneurial spirit that inspires.” The brothers write that the book is “filled with essays on all kinds of things,” which isn’t exactly true. There are some—e.g., a short piece on why the band Air Supply is so good or the value of The Karate Kid Part II (even though “there are so many things wrong with this movie”)—but mostly this is a hodgepodge of autobiographical sketches, lists of favorite movies (actually the same list slightly edited over and over), emails, rough screenplays, advice to young filmmakers, Mark’s short story “The Blowjob,” edited by Jay, comments from their wives, and “Airport” 1-5, in which the brothers make up filmic scenarios inspired by the people they see walking and sitting about. We learn that they grew up outside New Orleans and had great boyhoods. Creative and ambitious kids, they played around with a video recorder their father gave them and started writing little scenarios and filming them. In 1996, they started Duplass Brothers Productions and got to work. We follow them in action as they fail (Vince del Rio) and succeed (Cyrus). They made The Puffy Chair for $10,000 and premiered it at the Sundance Film Festival. Other successes followed, including HBO’s Togetherness series (2015), until cancelled, and Room 104 (2017).

A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore fans will enjoy.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-96771-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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MAGIC JOHNSON

CHAMPION WITH A CAUSE

The fantasy world we build around professional athletes took a serious hit when this NBA superstar announced his HIV infection and retirement. Here, a simply phrased account of Johnson's record-breaking basketball career is sandwiched between an analysis of the announcement's immediate effects and a look at his other career as a successful businessman. This is timely but superficial: the ``If I can get it, anyone can'' message is delivered, but readers will not learn much more about AIDS or the AIDS crisis, nor are they directed to other books or organizations that might help. Marginally useful for assignments; better efforts are probably in the pipeline. B&w photos. (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 5, 1992

ISBN: 0-8225-0546-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1992

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