A warmly appreciative memoir of sports and family.



A loving daughter recounts her father’s last illness.

Journalist, sports reporter, and memoirist Fagan, currently a feature writer for Sports Illustrated, pays homage to her beloved father, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2019. A basketball star at Colgate, Chris Fagan played professionally throughout Europe and shared his love of the sport with his eldest daughter, honing her natural talent. “I excelled in high school,” writes the author, "accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Colorado, and played three years professionally. Basketball, and sports, became the beating heart of my life.” But her commitment waned in college, which, she knew, disappointed her father. She was afraid her sexuality would also disappoint him. She came out as gay to her mother but couldn’t face telling Chris. “Back then, when I played women’s college basketball,” she reflects, “I thought being gay was a failing.” He did not, though, and warmly welcomed Kate’s love—and soon to be wife—into the family. His diagnosis jarred Kate into reassessing her life, career choices, and also “the glass walls I’d built between me and the people I loved the most.” Working at ESPN and living with her wife in Charleston, South Carolina, she felt enormous guilt at being far from her father when he most needed her. In December 2018, she left ESPN and for the next year traveled weekly to her family in upstate New York. In grueling detail, the author portrays the inexorable progress of her father’s illness, the toll it took on his family, and his persistent denial of reality. “I thought he should be like Buddha,” writes the author, “or Morrie Schwartz from Tuesdays With Morrie, or any number of stoic philosophers who embrace their final days with a pure heart, conviction in the world’s oneness flowing from their lips. Yet, she admits, she discovered in the mysteries of his final moments “a steadfast belief in a higher power.”

A warmly appreciative memoir of sports and family.

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-70691-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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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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