A commendable guide for finding meaning after considering suicide—from the heart of a survivor.

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DESTINED TO LIVE, DESPITE ME

BIBLICAL TRUTHS FOR SUICIDE SURVIVORS

A suicide survivor shares her conviction that the Christian faith can overcome a suicidal past.

As a pregnant 14-year-old, Shanks felt she had nowhere to turn and attempted to end her life—but she survived. The ensuing kindness of her sister and of an older Christian woman who took her in led Shanks to realize that life was worth living. Looking back on her ordeal nearly three decades later, Shanks credits God for saving her life, changing her direction and sustaining her through the years. This book is an attempt to share her sense of hope and joy in the wake of near-tragedy. Shanks’ intended audience is suicide survivors—those who have attempted suicide and those who have considered it—and she addresses them from the heart. Chapter headings are drawn from Shanks’ suicidal thoughts, such as “No one truly cares about me!” and “Life is too hard, and suicide is my only escape!” Working from each of these desperate mindsets, Shanks discusses what brings a person to such a point and then provides a Christian answer to the problem, drawing extensively upon scripture. Shanks’ work is, in many ways, an evangelical primer on the Christian faith for the unbeliever or new believer, including an explanation of the Trinity, the basics of salvation theology and an exposition on the importance and role of scripture. The book’s trajectory shows readers that, through faith, they can make sense of, and rebuild, their lives. Some readers may be taken aback by the unapologetically evangelical tenor of the book, while others will be drawn to it through the sincerity of the author. Shanks is completely committed to her faith and to presenting Christianity to the reader in an evangelical manner. Though often unpolished, her writing is accessible and genuine in tenor.

A commendable guide for finding meaning after considering suicide—from the heart of a survivor.

Pub Date: June 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-0578054681

Page Count: 141

Publisher: Anchor Distributors

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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