You will never forget this book, and if you do, let's hope someone close to you remembers.



A beloved fiction writer shares the story of her husband's assisted suicide after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readers will be locked into this gorgeously written memoir out of profound sympathy for the decision Bloom's 65-year-old husband made upon learning of his condition. A man who absolutely loved life, Brian immediately asked for help planning an early exit. By that time, the couple had for several years endured the depredations of his failing cognition without knowing why. Bloom describes this period with regret, longing, and her trademark mordant humor: "He has gotten me some really ugly jewelry in the last three years, things that are so far from my taste that, if he were a different man, I’d think he was keeping a seventies-boho, broke-ass mistress in Westville and gave me the enam­eled copper earrings and bangle he bought for her, by mistake." After researching what the future might hold, they sought the services of Dignitas, a Swiss organization supporting "accompanied suicide." The application process was complex. As one of Bloom's friends joked, "It’s like you do everything you possibly can to get your kid into Harvard and when you do, they kill him." Along with this black humor comes plenty of despair. Sadness and tears suffuse the narrative, and many readers will shed tears of their own. In one heart-wrenching section, the author describes the plight of a family friend who shared Brian’s condition: "She winds up in the care of one of her daughters, and she does not get to Dig­nitas, because that window probably closed two years earlier, and she will spend the rest of her life in a memory-care unit, and the best outcome I can hope for is that she dies soon. She does not die very soon and when we talk next, she is in the memory-care unit and she says, Something very strange is going on here, please come get me." As Alzheimer's becomes more prevalent, this shimmering love story and road map is must-read testimony.

You will never forget this book, and if you do, let's hope someone close to you remembers.

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-24394-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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 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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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