No bling-bling, no flava.



Tiresome, simple-minded autobiography from the New York radio personality.

Reared in middle-class Wayside, New Jersey, Williams knew from childhood that radio was her destiny. While a freshman at Northeastern, she approached the campus radio station and was soon reading the news on air. An internship at Boston’s number-one radio station led to a job offer in St. Croix. After only eight months on the island, Williams broke into the Washington, D.C., AM market. As her career was taking off, however, she developed a lengthy cocaine addiction. Despite the drugs and involvements with less-than-stellar men, Williams continued to achieve, eventually making it into the FM hip-hop market in New York City. She married, went through a messy divorce, and then met future husband Kevin, also involved in the business. They struggled to have a child, but right after the birth of their son, Williams discovered that Kevin was cheating on her. A quick trip to a private detective and the wronged wife realized that “ultimately speaking,” she won. Following this revelation is a transcript of a conversation with her husband describing the affair and its resolution, and the whole thing wraps up with author’s relationship rules and career advice—all of it embarrassingly simplistic. Instead of juicy insider gossip, Williams focuses strictly on herself. (She includes a brief mention of Salt N Pepa—but only because they invited her to replace their deejay, who was leaving to get married.) Despite her advice to readers that “there is no excuse for not being able to speak well,” Williams (or her coauthor) has chosen to write her narrative in the most casual of street slang. On competition from other deejays: “Bitches and niggas every day are practicing to do my shit.” On loyalty: “Don’t insist on it and then be a shady motherfucker.”

No bling-bling, no flava.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7434-7021-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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

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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

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


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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