An honest, loving account of losing someone and finding them again.

THE LAST DAY OF REGRET

Diaz reflects on the death of his sister Hannah in this debut Christian memoir.

Diaz’s sister Hannah was five years his junior, and though they got along well enough as children, by the time Hannah was 24, Diaz was only speaking to her indirectly, using his mother or his wife as an intermediary. “Some people are givers, and some are takers,” explains the author, who had three young children at the time demanding his full emotional attention. “My sister was a taker, and my solution was to stop giving. It was Hannah’s world, and the rest of us were just living in it.” A challenging personality since the age of 14 and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at 20, Hannah had spent years drinking, taking drugs, having promiscuous sex, overeating, and self-harming. Not long after yet another spat and tentative reconciliation, Diaz got a voice message from his mother: “Her lips are blue. Come quick.” At first Diaz suspected suicide, but as more facts emerged, the truth of Hannah’s death became unclear. This book represents Diaz’s attempt to find closure in his relationship with his sister. In it, he records the difficulties—and triumphs—of her brief life, interrogating his own mistakes and interpreting the events according to his Christian faith. What emerges is an exploration of regret: both the regret Diaz feels for things he did or did not do and the regrets that plagued Hannah in the final years of her life. Diaz’s prose is imbued with the grief, remorse, empathy, and frustration that one would expect as he recalls the tumultuous nature of his relationship with his sister: “I don’t think I blatantly ignored her as a form of malice. I was doing my best not to respond negatively, but I just ended up not responding at all.” While this sometimes rises to a level of saccharine, the narration is generally grounded and conversational. He approaches the subject with humility, and he manages to portray Hannah in a surprisingly sympathetic light. Diaz sees every tragedy as an opportunity to learn from God—a perspective that seems to serve him well. There may be similar memoirs with more polished narrative structures, but the sincerity that pervades Diaz’s book does much to buoy its emotional impact.

An honest, loving account of losing someone and finding them again.

Pub Date: March 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973657-42-2

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

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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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