An honest, heartbreaking story of a child exposed to prolonged war and how the psychological effects of war can linger into...

NO TIME TO CRY

A beautifully written memoir about the author’s horrific childhood experiences in Latvia during World War II.

Referring to herself as Lara in her memoir, author Leinvebers goes back and forth between her present, when she is a world-renowned pianist living in Canada, and her childhood, when she endured extreme measures of brutality and abuse. Lara was 6 years old when World War II exploded into her life and changed everything. As a little girl, Lara was happy. She and her mother, father and older brother, Lars, lived in a beautiful home, had their own farm and plenty of animals that Lara loved to dote upon, especially her cat Mikus. On Christmas Eve, her severely wounded brother came to the door. He was found by soldiers, dragged away and killed. Lara and her parents suffered through tireless bombs, gunshots and mass destruction as everything around them was blown to bits. Lara was so horrified by the cruelty inflicted upon herself and others that, at one point, she became mute. Leinvebers writes with a simplicity that captures the thought process of a child living in fear. She reports—through the eyes and ears of a child—the destruction and inhumane treatment at the hands of those whom Lara calls “assassins.” Though these assassins abused and tormented her nearly every day, she and her parents fought to stay alive, and she kept her forgiving, loving nature. The author candidly discusses how that experience affected her life as an adult—she attempts to distract herself with her love of music and continually works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid thinking about what happened. Though she may now be far removed from the war in both time and place, the past always manages to find her, and her emotional scars and wounds are from far gone.

An honest, heartbreaking story of a child exposed to prolonged war and how the psychological effects of war can linger into adulthood.  

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-1462058457

Page Count: 236

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2013

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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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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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