A fiercely readable, potent memoir of a survivor who refuses to be silenced.

TOUFAH

THE WOMAN WHO INSPIRED AN AFRICAN #METOO MOVEMENT

A Gambian survivor of rape speaks out.

When Jallow was 19, she was raped by Yahya Jammeh, the nation’s corrupt president. Jallow had recently won the July 22 pageant, an annual event designed to commemorate the coup that brought Jammeh to power and which allegedly offered the winner “a full scholarship to the university of her choice, anywhere in the world.” When she was named Miss July 22 Queen, Jallow was thrilled at the prospect of studying abroad. Following her win, Jammeh repeatedly asked her to disrupt her schedule to appear at events with him, a pattern that Jallow later realized was part of a process of “grooming” her for sexual assault. Eventually, Jammeh asked her to marry him; when she refused, he assaulted her. Afraid for her life and her family’s safety, Jallow traveled across the border into Senegal. Through a network of allies, she moved to Canada, where she attempted to start over. As she navigated her new life, Jallow’s past continued to haunt her. She sought therapy and chose to speak out about what happened to her and, she suspects, to numerous other women at the hands of Jammeh and his enablers. “I knew attaching my real name would ensure the story was more widely covered by news media around the world,” she writes of her courageous decision, “resulting in less room for Jammeh to hide and more likelihood that the girls and women I wanted to reach would hear my message.” The author’s voice is frank and conversational, and she peppers her harrowing story with moments of humor and humanity that make the book an inspirational page-turner. Jallow’s emotional trajectory is particularly compelling. Throughout the book, she vividly describes her fear, strength, and sorrow, always cognizant that her experience, no matter how raw, can be a source of comfort to fellow survivors who are unable to go public.

A fiercely readable, potent memoir of a survivor who refuses to be silenced.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-58642-300-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Truth to Power/Steerforth

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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 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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

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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