Though the oddly unfulfilled premise remains a bungle, Wentworth charms her way to safety with her endearing reflections.

HAPPILY ALI AFTER

AND MORE FAIRLY TRUE TALES

Facing her 50th birthday, Wentworth (Ali in Wonderland, 2012, etc.) embarks on an inspirational quest to self-betterment as she reflects on teachable moments from her life.

Positive reinforcement can be a hard thing to come by, especially, as the actress and comedian realized, when on the verge of middle age. At 49, Wentworth was feeling blue and overcome by lassitude. Needing a change, she turned to an unexpected source of wisdom: Twitter. By following the aphoristic teachings of 140-word inspirational tweets, the author began a project to cast off her discontent and remake a “dynamic, sleeker, and turbocharged” self. However, Wentworth’s plan to use Twitter as a guide to spiritual enlightenment disappears as quickly as it is introduced. Nowhere in her anti–self-help musings about marriage, wellness, and parenting does she return to this premise. The only connection to her Twitter concept is her insertion of oddly hashtagged phrases and Twitter handles in lieu of certain surnames. She haphazardly includes inspirational wisdom gleaned from her anecdotes about a former nemesis–turned-friend, the comedy of errors that was her invitation to give a commencement speech, and a cameraman that sullied her powder room. Thankfully, Wentworth is funny. She gracefully and elegantly bares embarrassing stories from her past and hilariously conveys the challenges of her marriage to ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos and of raising their two children—e.g., when her daughter desperately wanted a guinea pig for her birthday, which, accordingly to Wentworth, is nothing more than a glorified rodent. With wit, the author may inspire others to simply enjoy the moment and not let themselves get in the way.

Though the oddly unfulfilled premise remains a bungle, Wentworth charms her way to safety with her endearing reflections.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-223849-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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