A searing tale of heartache and impressive depth of character.

THIS LOVELY LIFE

A MEMOIR OF PREMATURE MOTHERHOOD

The harrowing experience of a woman whose twins were born at 23 weeks.

Forman explores the many issues of premature birth without presuming to offer solutions or comfort, drawing directly from the raw outrage, torment and profound sorrow she recorded in her journal. She makes it her life purpose to stay apace with the minutiae of her children's fragile, ever-changing conditions, doggedly expanding her knowledge of medical terminology and navigating every diagnostic twist and turn with research, skepticism and occasional self-doubt. Beneath her outward mettle is a mother who is continually probing every phase of the grief process. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance do not progress in conventional order but churn and shift within her consciousness on a minute-by-minute basis, depending on the latest lab report, nurse's comment or conference with doctors. Forman's lack of pretense is bracing and brutally poignant, and she recounts her experiences in meticulous emotive and medical detail. Whether praising or condemning hospital staff, wrestling with the marital pressures engendered by family health crises, struggling to find spiritual solace, driving her son 1,000 miles to an alternative-treatment center or watching him happily roll around on the motel bed, Forman is a warrior. Threaded through her untethered courage and candor are moments of sheer helplessness: “They say it's your baby, but until you go home it's not your baby.”

A searing tale of heartache and impressive depth of character.

Pub Date: July 23, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-547-23275-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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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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