A supermodel-thin volume of upbeat, can-do mantras that would prosper with a higher page count.

READ REVIEW

POSSIBLE

THINK IT, BELIEVE IT, KNOW IT

In her debut self-help guide, Chastain, a successful businesswoman, encourages readers with examples of good fortune, serendipity and intuition from her own life.

Anything is possible if you just believe, Chastain says in the Horatio Alger–esque story of her own life. The narrative leapfrogs over much of the expected autobiographical material straight ahead to several life-altering incidents that attempt to prove her point. Showing a bent toward the mystical, the author recounts how a heavily metaphorical dream steered her away from a duplicitous college boyfriend who might have financially destroyed her—or worse. During a relatively thankless retail job, Chastain’s attention to customer service leads to her proverbial “big break.” Later, grappling over whether to remain at the sexist workplace that paid her relocation fee or accept a competing, tempting counteroffer, Chastain makes a tough choice based more on ethics than comfort; the positive outcome is surprising. Chastain’s willingness to take on new challenges even leads to a temporary but satisfying brush with Hollywood glamour, though no celebrity identities or project titles are given. In fact, the author’s coy refusal to name names or go into much detail in these true-life parables is often a drawback. Even though this book keeps the focus on life lessons in a refreshing change from tell-all exhibitionism, the author’s bare-bones approach leaves this slim volume a bit too slender. The author went from a small town, South Carolina upbringing to her present residence in Switzerland, and readers will be left hungry for a fuller description of how that happened. As it stands, this volume is a collection of widely scattered milestones. The book’s brevity is all the more frustrating because Chastain exhibits a knack for easy storytelling; reading her prose is like listening to an old friend.

A supermodel-thin volume of upbeat, can-do mantras that would prosper with a higher page count.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-1467001045

Page Count: 60

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more