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$11.53 $11.07 list($16.95)
181. My Bloody Life: The Making of
$10.17 $3.52 list($14.95)
182. My Losing Season
$10.46 $2.82 list($13.95)
183. The Lobster Chronicles : Life
$9.71 $3.95 list($12.95)
184. Please Stop Laughing at Me: One
$16.97 $5.00 list($24.95)
185. Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One
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186. All Souls : A Family Story from
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187. Charred Souls: A Story of Recreational
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188. Not Fade Away : A Short Life Well
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189. She's Not There : A Life in Two
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190. The Way Home : A German Childhood,
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191. Enslaved by Ducks
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192. Uncle Shelby's Circus
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193. Best Damn Garage in Town: The
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194. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip
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195. No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental
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196. Where is the Mango Princess?
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197. Everyday Matters
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198. Survive! : My Fight for Life in
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199. Tis : A Memoir
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200. The Apprentice : My Life in the

181. My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King (Illinois)
by Reymundo Sanchez
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556524277
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Sales Rank: 20051
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Looking for an escape from childhood abuse, Reymundo Sanchez turned away from school and baseball to drugs, alcohol, and then sex, and was left to fend for himself before age 14. The Latin Kings, one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America, became his refuge and his world, but its violence cost him friends, freedom, self-respect, and nearly his life. This is a raw and powerful odyssey through the ranks of the new mafia, where the only people more dangerous than rival gangs are members of your own gang, who in one breath will say they'll die for you and in the next will order your assassination. ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK
THIS BOOK IS HONESLTY GREAT. I HAVE DEDICATE IT ALL MY ATTENTION TO IT . I'M A PERSON THAT HATE READING. AND ONE DAY IN SCHOOL ONE OF MY FRIENDS TOLD ME, HEY DALI READ THIS BOOK. I WAS LIKE HELL NO YOU KNOW I HATE READING. SHE WAS INSISTING FOR ME TO READ IT. SO I WAS LIKE PASS IT OVER. ONCE I READ THE TITLE I WAS LIKE THIS BOOK SEEMS GOOD. SO ONCE I HAVE GOTTEN TO THE INTRODUCTION I KEPT READING IT NONE STOP. I KEPT GETTING IN TROUBLE FOR NOT PAYING ATTENTION IN MY CLASSES. AFTER I FINISHED IT. I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT READING MAY GET YOU TO UNDERSTAND THE REAL DEFINITION OF "GANGBANGING" AND WHAT IT PUTS YOU THROUGH IN LIFE. THE REASON I GOT SO INTO THIS BOOK IS BECAUSE I LIVE BY LATIN KINGS AND I SEE ALOT OF THINGS, AND I BE THINKING WHAT DOES A REAL LATIN KING GO THROUGH, AND AFTER READING THIS NOW I UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY REALLY GO THROUGH .THANK YOU REY FOR MAKING THIS BOOK.I ENJOYED IT ALOT.
LOVE
DALI

4-0 out of 5 stars Latin King tells all and tells it well
My Bloody Life is rather straightforward memoir about Sanchez's randomly brutal childhood and his subsequent violent career with the Latin Kings in Chicago. And a very violent career it was: bloodshed and drug addiction are the two major elements of the narrative. For all of that, this reader did not feel that the author was patronizing us or shocking us for its own sake: he is describing his world as he saw it, and he didn't live by Walden Pond. My Bloody Life does nothing to glamourize gang life, but it is apparent that the Latin Kings did provide Mr. Sanchez with the only community, the only family he has ever had. This adds a poignant note to an unsentimental memoir: it is only when the author is speaking of the gang that you feel he is connected to the world around him. The Latin Kings gave him a chance to be on the winning side of violence, for a while, instead of just being its clueless victim.

The prose is unadorned, the rhetorical tricks few, and the printing errors more frequent that I would wish, but I read this book with the sense that I was reading a life, and not just puffery or bathos. And that is what all memoirs are for. In addition, My Bloody Life tells us a great deal about one gang and one gangbanger, things that many of us do not understand very well, even if we see them everyday. Is this book worth reading? Most definitely.

5-0 out of 5 stars "loco"
I enjoyed the book, MY BOODY LIFE by Raymundo Sanchez. The main character Lil Loco is trying to find his place in life. He was a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico. Later he moved to Chicago. It was hard for him to live there because of his race. There was much discrimination. He was scared to be alone so he started to hang out with different gangs and gang members. They helped him out if he ever had any trouble with anyone. He found lots of friends including those in the Latin Kings.He later became one and had to deal with murder, drug addictions, sex, gang violations. He even dealt with killing some one he used to get along with. I recommend this book to anyone who would even think about joining a gang.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read!
WOW! I ABSOLUTLY HATE READING!!! I never read! But this book is incredible! I couldnt put the book down. Everything was so real. Kids get trapped into things like this everyday where I live and they dont even know what they are getting into. I highly recommend this book. Its easy to read, and its exciting and you just want to continue reading to see what happens next. I have just finished reading it and im about to start the second book by Reymundo Sanchez called "Once a King always a king" Deffinatly a great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST book I EVER read!!!
Living in a neighborhood with Latin Kings, just like "Reymundo" I picked up the book and read it from reading the first page i was hooked. It took me about a month to read it, and enjoyed evry page of it! It's not like anything i ever read and was interesting because I could relate. VERY GOOD BOOK! ... Read more


182. My Losing Season
by PAT CONROY
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553381903
Catlog: Book (2003-08-26)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 3572
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A 'Losing' Inspiration
I'm not a sports fan (okay, I like some hockey but that hardly counts). I never have been a sports fan and, at this point in my life, I think I might have run out of time to make myself into a sports fan. However, while I was reading this book and ever since, I think I finally get the amazing complexity of truly loving a sport. I think I just might have missed out on something by never learning to adore basketball.

But I didn't have to miss out on this book. Having a knowledge of basketball might have enhansed my appreciation of this book but I don't see how anything could have enhansed my enjoyment. This is a story about passion in it's purest form. Not passionate romantic love but a passion just as valid, just as beautiful and, often, just as heart-breaking. And it's written as only Pat Conroy can write: honest and without needless window dressing. It's a story that could have been so mediocre in the hands of anyone else. But Pat Conroy, who lived and loved and hurt this season, delivers a novel that is so compelling anyone can love it.

I'm still not a sports fan but, I have to admit, lately, when one of the men in my life flips the channel to a basketball game, I'm more inclined to pat him on the head and cluck lovingly than beat him with the remote control.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rivetting, Intriguing Memoir
Mr. Conroy is arguably one of the best writers living. This memoir focuses on his senior year at The Citadel, The Military College of SC-recently in the headlines for the losing battle to remain all-male. It offers keen insights into his life through writing of the highest level.

Conroy's tale follows his senior year but also delves into his life as it centers around his basketball and academic careers. At the forefront of the scenes from his life is the maniacal behavior of his father, an abusive, sadistic marine who was a tortuous figure throughout Conroy's youth.

I found the story of Conroy's development as a lover of books and as a writer extremely interesting. One could even surmise that all the events of his life served as ingredients to making him a great novelist.

One cannot help but to ride on the emotional rollercoaster that this book creates as it follows Conroy's ups and downs on and off the basketball court. As he writes about specific games he played, it reads like the play-by-play to the NCAA championship game, which every game was to Conroy.

The book offers great details about his relationships to other players and people in his life, including teachers, who made a lasting mark on him.

As a Citadel graduate and athlete, I found the memoir to paint accurate illustrations of life as a Citadel athlete, trying to excel in a sport when everything seems to be against you-the school, the coach, the students-everything.

I don't think any reader will be disappointed in this book. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not enough stars for this one, folks . . .
As with all of Conroy's books, he makes you love the story even if you're not interested in the subject material. The only other author I know of that does this is Jackson McCrae. "My Losing Season" is a true story of how a college basketball player trying to get the approval of his father. Yet, getting that approval is hard due to his father's expectations. Conroy tells a wonderful story that may leave some teary-eyed. One cannot help but to ride on the emotional rollercoaster that this book creates as it follows Conroy's ups and downs on and off the basketball court. As he writes about specific games he played, it reads like the play-by-play to the NCAA championship game, which every game was to Conroy. As usual, this novel is brilliantly constructed and well-done---as all his novels are.

Also recommended: "The Bark of the Dogwood," and "Prince of Tides."

4-0 out of 5 stars Lacerating. . .
There's a scene in a 1970s movie in which Gene Hackman tries to grind up a broken wine glass in a garbage disposal. Reading this book is a lot like that.

I picked up "My Losing Season" not as a great fan of Pat Conroy or as a former athlete. I was attracted more by the theme of loss and its lessons. And I expected a different personal story than the one Conroy tells. The losing basketball season in his last year as a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, is a pretext for a much deeper theme - survival in the face of humiliation.

And it's not the losses of the games that are humiliating. On the one hand is the brutal and unrelenting contempt of his marine colonel father, a child abuser and wife beater. On the other hand is the withering scorn of Conroy's arbitrary and capricious coach, Mel Thompson. Both, in Conroy's account, do their best to beat the spirit out of the boy who has grown into an indomitable (though undersized and modestly talented) point guard for his team. And all of this takes place in the regimented, fierce, all-male environment of The Citadel in the 1960s, where incoming boys are routinely broken by the merciless hazing of their upperclassmen.

Humiliation is a much more difficult subject than loss to deal with. Loss leaves scars, but humiliation remains an open wound, and in writing about it there is the risk of slipping into the tug of war between self-pity and self-blame. Conroy takes us there sometimes, and those are the parts of his story that are lacerating. But win or lose, the ups and downs of the season are fascinating and the accounts of the games are thrilling. As a writer, he has a gift for hustling the reader with suspense and drama and sudden shifts of mood. As an observer of character, he vividly brings to life the individual boys who make up the team. As someone deeply wounded, he is able to freely and convincingly express the many articulations of the heart - especially love, admiration, and gratitude.

Once I started into this book, I could not put it down. It kept me reading late into the night. And when I wasn't reading, it filled my thoughts, as I'm sure it will for a long time. It's a troubling book that wants to resolve a host of dark memories. And it may well want to show the reader how to do the same. I'm not sure that it's completely successful in either regard. And maybe that's the point. It's enough to recast humiliation as loss. That is a wound that can eventually heal.

5-0 out of 5 stars My losing Season
Pat Conroy's book My Losing Season Is about Pat in his early years trying to take his basketball team to the championship but he finds it hard. He has to determine whether or not his family is more important to him than basketball. He deals with his father's abuse and disapproval of what he is doing. This has been one of the best book that I have ever read. Anyone who likes basketball or has played any sport would love this book. ... Read more


183. The Lobster Chronicles : Life On a Very Small Island
by Linda Greenlaw
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786885912
Catlog: Book (2003-06-11)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 11055
Average Customer Review: 3.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After 17 years at sea, Linda Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break from being a swordboat captain, the career that would earn her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and a portrayal in the subsequent film. Greenlaw decided to move back home, to a tiny island seven miles off the Maine coast. There, she would pursue a simpler life as a lobsterman, find a husband, and settle down.

But all doesn't go as planned. The lobsters refuse to crawl out from under their rocks and into the traps she and her father have painstakingly set. Fellow islanders draw her into bizarre intrigues, and the eligible bachelors prove even more elusive than the lobsters. But just when she thinks things can't get worse, something happens that forces her to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about life, luck, and lobsters.

Filled with nautical detail and the dramas of small-town life, The Lobster Chronicles is a celebration of family and community. Greenlaw proves once again that fishermen are the best storytellers around. ... Read more

Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but incomplete
A wonderful read by the ever engaging Linda Greenlaw who delivers a bittersweet and loving snapshot of her remote home island. A fascinating look inside the traditional lobster trade, the book is really about Greenlaw's own struggles to find meaning in her work, her life, and to begin to accept the mortality of her parents.

My only regret is that the book stops quite abruptly, leaving several story lines incomplete, requiring a terse afterword to sketch in some missing pieces.

But any time spent with Greenlaw is quality time; her anecdotes manage to be both charming and sharp-eyed. She'll be getting lots of mail over the one jarring section in the book, her rant over dog ownership: Greenlaw derides anyone who stoops to the poop and scoop element. Interestingly, it is this passage which gives us the key to the real theme in this book, Greenlaw's longing for a home, husband and children. Enduring love, like lobster fishing and dog ownership, involves some nasty bits, like handling rancid bait, picking up dirty socks, or dog poop. She understands the connection between the hard, often punishing work of fishing and its rewards...but until she can see what inspires a person to clean up after their dog, she won't be ready for a human of her own.

But she'll make it there; this woman has a huge heart and wonderful stories. Buy her books, they are rare treats.

3-0 out of 5 stars Of warps, buoys and traps
You may remember Linda Greenlaw as a supporting character (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in George Clooney's THE PERFECT STORM. Following that film, the real-life Greenlaw described her experience as the captain of a North Atlantic swordfishing boat in the riveting best seller, THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Now, in THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES, Linda has returned to her home island, Isle au Haut, Maine, to run a lobster boat.

Fishing for lobster isn't as potentially dangerous or dramatic as chasing swordfish. And it's more of a 9 to 5 job where you get to sleep at night under a roof in your own bed. So, while Greenlaw shares enough knowledge about lobstering for the reader to get a feel for it, the bulk of the book is about related (or unrelated) people and events: the effort by a town committee to acquire the local lighthouse from the government, the state of emergency medicine on the isolated Isle au Haut, the prospect of a turf war with mainland lobstermen, her mother's battle with cancer, friends lost at sea, her father (who serves as sternman on her lobster boat), the scarcity of eligible bachelors, her culinary ineptitude, and her dislike of dogs.

THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES is a pleasant but lesser sequel to THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Linda's self-effacing humor is perhaps the volume's major strong point, as well as the book's charm as a description of contemporary Americana. Some of Linda's prose is striking, as her description of the waves parading north as seen from the window of her home:

"Some of the officers on horseback nodded shocks of white hair while masses of lower-rank sailors kept eyes forward and sternly marched in the most rehearsed fashion to the wind ... The trees lining the shore waved like spectators ..."

By the book's end, I was saddened by Linda's undertone of unhappiness. She doesn't seem to like lobstering much. And she's fretful of the fact that, at 40, she remains unmarried and without children. Her loneliness is uncomfortably evident. ("I have spent much time waiting for Mr. Right, who does not appear to be looking for me.")

Sail on Linda, and persevere. I wish you well.

3-0 out of 5 stars No Story
A fitting title, but no story here other than the quiet life of a tomboy and her father. Nothing really happens, at least not in a way that was interesting to me. I enjoyed the book, I was relaxed by the book and I learned from the book. But in the end Lobster Chronicles was a bit lite for me. I never really got to know or understand any of the characters, the author included. I did not read her 1st book about sword fishing, but must assume it was better written than this one.

Michael Duranko
www.bootism.com

5-0 out of 5 stars laughter among the lobsters
Our discussion on Linda Greenlaw's second memoir-type book, was full of laughs. This is in contrast to her first, very serious effort about the death defying Hungry Ocean and being captain of a swordfish boat. Returning home to live on an island of only 70 year-round residents, with 30 being related to Linda, would require humor. She provides daily events which entertain and reveal true Maine island characters. Lobstering is not easy either, but her family and island friends make the long, cold winter an intimate affair. Who wants to attend those community meetings, anyway? Same problem in crowded cities on shore...I am looking forward to Greenlaw's third book, fiction next, I believe?

3-0 out of 5 stars more about the people and less about the lobsters, please
Linda Greenlaw made a name for herself as a successful swordfish boat captain based out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Sebastian Junger wrote about her in "The Perfect Storm" and she subsequently wrote about herself in "The Hungry Ocean". (I haven't read either of those so no comments there.) Ready for a change, she returned to the small Maine island where she had grown up, Isle Au Haut. The island has only a few dozen residents, and many of them are her relatives. Like most locals, she set herself up as a lobster fisherman, with her father as her assistant. This book describes her life on the island and one lobster season.

She does tell some interesting stories about what it is like to live on an island, dealing with winter isolation, summer tourists and year-round local politics. However there were way too many passages like this one..."All traps are equipped with hard plastic escape vents that have oval openings large enough to allow 'short' or undersized lobsters to exit a trap at will. Each of my traps has two vents, one in the door and one in the parlor end. Maine State Law requires that one vent be secured with biodegradable hog rings, while the other may be set with stainless steel, requiring little or no maintenance. The idea behind the mandatory biodegradable vent is to ensure the liberty of all lobsters within a trap that may be lost or neglected. 'Ghost gear,' or lost traps, are not a threat to lobsters' lives because the biodegradable hog rings deteriorate within a season, allowing the plastic vent to flop open, leaving a large exit. All biodegradable rings or remains of rings must be replaced when overhauling traps if a fisherman expects to catch anything. Otherwise, lobsters will find open vents, and fishermen will haul up empty traps. I was clumsy with the hog-ring pliers at first, but found more ease and comfort as the morning progressed."...and on it goes, pages and pages of this stuff.

This book would be essential reading for any aspiring lobster fisherman. Not falling into that category myself, I found the level of detail excessive and there simply weren't enough good anecdotes to make up for it. I wish that her editor had been more aggressive. By the end I was glad to wave farewell to both Greenlaw and the island. ... Read more


184. Please Stop Laughing at Me: One Woman's Inspirational Story
by Jodee Blanco
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580628362
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
Sales Rank: 25188
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

While other kids were daydreaming about dances, first kisses, and college, Jodee Blanco was just trying to figure out how to get from homeroom to study hall without being taunted or spit upon as she walked through the halls.

This powerful, unforgettable memoir chronicles how one child was shunned—and sometimes physically abused—by her classmates from elementary school through high school. It is an unflinching look at what it means to be the outcast, how even the most loving parents can get it all wrong, why schools are often unable to prevent disaster, and how bullying has been misunderstood and mishandled by the mental health community.

You will be shocked, moved, and ultimately inspired by this harrowing tale of survival against insurmountable odds. This vivid story will open your eyes to the harsh realities and long-term consequences of bullying—and how all of us can make a difference in the lives of teens today. ... Read more

Reviews (51)

4-0 out of 5 stars More than inspirational
While Please Stop Laughing at Me is inspirational, it is also a book that is important enough to be read by school teachers and administration. Much of what Ms. Blanco describes in her book still goes on today. And sometimes even teachers are the bullies. While Ms. Blanco went on to a great career, others who were bullied may be self-destructive, and even commit suicide. I believe that it is comitting soul murder to bully someone, to make their life hell - a dictionary defines bully as an abuser - and no one deserves to be abused in order to "toughen up." Many today still consider bullying a 'rite of passage.' Research shows that young bullies (and it starts young) often grow up to be big bullies - those who bully (abuse) their children and spouses. If any parent still believes that bullying is just a "boys will be boys thing" here's a question: Would you like for your daughter to marry one? Would you like your grandchildren raised by one? Here's a question for school personnel: If bullying isn't so bad, would you like your son or daughter to work for a bully? Would YOU like working for, or with, a bully? It behooves us all to read Ms. Blanco's book, and to do some research on the effects bullying has on a child. Instead of "toughening them up," it often destroys them emotionally.

5-0 out of 5 stars it was very good!
This is a wonderful book. I am a victim of bullying also. I found this book very interesting. I found that Jodee had a lot of the same feelings I had when my problem was at its peak. The bad reviewers did have some good points. But all in all I think most of them didn't have the experiance and knowledge to say what they had to say. For one, yes it is very believable that that Jodee was picked on because of the dissabled people she helped. I was! And it was inspriring because it taught me that I really can do whatever I want, and Jodee is a very nice person I have emailed her before and got very nice replies from her more than once. Like I said, the people that gave it bad reviews did have some good points, but all in all I think that it was an awsome book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stay Away
This book was awful! I had to read it for a book club and it couldn't be more exagerated. Blanco claims to be bullied and harrased yet never gives reasons as to why she is treated so poorly. This book is not at all realistic for a true story.
The author herself claimed that her book was rejected 30 some times by publishers, you would think that she would realize that perhaps her book sucked, but she didn't get the message. I am writing this to give the message to all the readers considering this book, move on don't waste your time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful Information for Educators in Blanco's book
Jodee Blanco is a tremendous writer. Her conversational style in Please Stop Laughing At Me... is comfortable and allows the reader to jump right into the story alongside her. While I find it hard to believe that everything she wrote was EXACTLY the way it happened all those years ago, it is obvious that the torment she went through during her childhood was insurmountable. I can't say that I was ever the victim of bullying or that I was a bully myself, but I have been in that complacent observer category, upset of other's bullying but unable to stick up for the victim. I think this book is a good read for bullies and observers (like myself), to show them what the victims are really going through.

While the descriptions of her victimizations were striking, I think the most effective and helpful part of the book was the final chapters, when Blanco returns to her high school for a reunion. Although I find some elements a little farfetched and Hollywood, I do believe that Blanco's bullies really didn't realize how harsh they had been to her. This last part is what I feel would be where the victims of bullying should concentrate when reading. It shows that their tormentors may not even realize what they are doing to them, and--in a silent way--encourages them to stand up for themselves when a situation occurs.

I would especially recommend Please Stop Laughing At Me... to those in the education professions--teachers, principals, aides--because they are the ones who witness children and young adults interacting with their peers the most often. Blanco's advice to these administrators that she gives in this book is not what many people would think at first, but is sage advice from a bullying survivor. Blanco tours schools, giving riveting presentations to students on the effects of bullying, providing them with advice and hope. Her website has more information about her touring schedule and how to contact her. She is a real-life Cinderella story!

1-0 out of 5 stars !!! Cry Me A River !!!
I am not trying to be cruel, but this book was a load of bull. I personally would not EVER read "Please Stop Laughing At Me" again in my life. Sure, I guess I pity Ms. Blanco for having to go through all of that as a kid, because no one should be forced into that situation. But her claiming to be 'friends with the blind kids and the special ed. kids' was a little hard to swallow. I wouldn't know, I wasn't born yet. The whole book just seemed to me to be a rather loud whine for pity. Or maybe it was written to releave her of her 'anger'. Either way, it was poorly written: maybe Ms. Blanco WAS good at making speeches, but she obviously is not good at making books. I just can't beleive that the publishers would allow such a stupid and pointless book to go through the writing process, let alone encourage her to write another. If I saw another book by Jodee Blanco at a bookstore, I would deffinately not buy it, no matter what the topic. ... Read more


185. Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein
by Jean P. Sasson, Jean Sasson
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525948112
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Sales Rank: 9002
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jean Sasson met Mayada Al-Askari on a trip to Baghdad in 1998. One year later, Jean learned that Mayada had been taken without the knowledge of her family from the tiny print shop that she owned, and imprisoned in the notorious Baladiyat Prison—headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s infamous secret police.

Mayada’s story both past and present is truly incredible. Her family was one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other was the first true Arab nationalist (admired greatly by Saddam Hussein). Her uncle was Prime Minister of Iraq for nearly forty years; her mother, an important government official.

From personal meetings with Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali to raising two small children as a single mother, Mayada’s life was at once privileged, yet carefully balanced. But life can shift quickly in Iraq and Mayada finds herself thrown into a small cell with seventeen other women. The shadow women. The women rally around each other to share their unbelievable stories and in so doing gain the strength to survive. The names of the shadow women are scrawled in charcoal onto the cell wall in the hopes that one day one of them will make it out to tell others of their existence. This is Mayada’s courageous story, but also that of her sisters. ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST read!!!
I was against the war in Iraq in 2003 but after reading Jean Sasson's excellent book, I wrote a letter to President Bush stating that for the liberation of the Iraqi people alone from Saddam Hussein, it was worth it. Jean Sasson does a marvelous job blending Iraqi history with the Hussein regime and the life of Mayada. This book about Mayada's life opened my mind to see how evil Hussein was and how he ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Both Jean Sasson and Mayada are brave women who deserve big kudos for getting the horrible truth out about one of the most despicable dictators in modern times. This book is worth every penny for the eye-opening aspect alone, but the book is written so eloquently that it truly is one of those books that you can't put down. I finished the book in a little over one day. I highly recommend this book for those who were against the war because like me, it made me realize that the liberation of an entire country from true evil is just simply the right thing to do. Jean Sasson and Mayada are true heroes in my book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Mourning for the Shadow Women
This fast-paced, excellent book was worth every penny I spent. Sasson, who wrote the Princess Trilogy, meets an extraordinary woman when she goes to Iraq in 1998. (I'm intrigued by Sasson's story and would love to read a book about her life!) The American and the Iraqi become fast friends. Mayada, the Iraqi, is imprisoned and tortured, but gets out of Iraq alive. (Some of the prison scenes read like a thriller and the reader is squirming in fear about the safety of the individuals you meet through Sasson's telling.) After Mayada reaches freedom, and Iraq is liberated, Sasson tells her story, with Mayada's cooperation. What comes out of their efforts is a beautifully written story about a woman living in one of the most tragic times in Iraq's history. I learned so much, and admit, am rethinking my previous anger at the American role in running Saddam aground. The man needed deposing! My only problem came from the fact that I didn't know what happened to the women who shared Mayada's cell 52. The mystery of what happened to them is a special torture to me. Despite this, I think this is the best book I've read in a very long time and I hope all Americans get the chance to read this heartwrenching story. I would think every American soldier, male or female, would gain a lot of prespective regarding their great value to the Iraqi people if they read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Jean Sasson has given a voice to one of the most oppressed groups in the world today - Arab women. First with Princess and now with Mayada. After reading this book, it really makes it seem laughable the so-called "tortures" that US soldiers were doing to Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Saddam's henchmen would not have even used their methods to warm up. They went straight to beatings and electrocution.

The book was carefully written and moves very quickly. There are no slow spots. It was very revealing of the kind of lives people live under a brutal dictatorship such as Saddam's. Unfortunately, there are others just as bad, if not worse. Just ask the North Koreans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful book by Sasson
As a huge fan of Jean Sasson, I keenly anticipated the release of Mayada, Daughter of Iraq. It was definitely worth the wait. This heart wrenching, eye opening book, tells the story of Mayada, an affluent Iraqi, and her experiences in prison in Iraq. A must read for all, especially considering the current circumstances. As usual, Sasson wrote with incredible flair. The magnificent descriptions really made you feel like you were there with Mayada, and made everything so real. I recommend this book to everyone, it is absolutely spectacular.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Mayada has to be one of 2004 top reads. Exploring the jail cells and treatmeant of Iraqians Mayada is a very touching story which will fill your heart with different emotions. Jean Sasson has yet again conjoured a wonder of a book. The book is put together so well and it even has a glossary if you dont understand the words. Mayada has all the cons of the Iraqian government and what Saddam and the government used to do (Uday who is saddams son used to let go of a tiger at busy restaraunts). Bizarre! Its starts off with Mayada, a newspaper journalist being imprisoned at Baladiyat where the guards torture people for days on and even killing them in the process (RIP JAMILA). She was imprisoned for accusations of herosy. This book is well put together but some parts seem fake and untrue and the ending wasn't good enough considering it had such a good story. So in all the only major con of this book is the bad ending(which cost it a star) ... Read more


186. All Souls : A Family Story from Southie (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by MICHAEL PATRICK MACDONALD
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034544177X
Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 15037
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Michael Patrick MacDonald grew up in "the best place in the world"--the Old Colony projects of South Boston--where 85% of the residents collect welfare in an area with the highest concentration of impoverished whites in the U.S. In All Souls, MacDonald takes us deep into the secret heart of Southie. With radiant insight, he opens up a contradictory world, where residents are besieged by gangs and crime but refuse to admit any problems, remaining fiercely loyal to their community. MacDonald also introduces us to the unforgettable people who inhabit this proud neighborhood. We meet his mother, Ma MacDonald, an accordion-playing, spiked-heel-wearing, indomitable mother to all; Whitey Bulger, the lord of Southie, gangster and father figure, protector and punisher; and Michael's beloved siblings, nearly half of whom were lost forever to drugs, murder, or suicide. By turns explosive and touching, All Souls ultimately shares a powerful message of hope, renewal, and redemption. ... Read more

Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars All Souls
My reactions relate not only to the reading "All Souls" but to other reviews of the work. I should state with clarity that I am familiar neither with the individuals in the book nor with the history of Southie. Yet MacDonald's book is vital to both the story of urban centers such as Boston but also to the untold story of white poverty in the United States. Books such as "All Souls" and more militant pieces such as "The Redneck Manifesto" (Jim Goad's brash and irreverent book) are important accounts of white poverty. MacDonald never portrayed his work as "a socio-cultural study of white poverty in an Urban Center in the Northeastern United States," but a personal account of his family's experiences. "All Souls" presents a good picture of the complexities of the real world - a family that was a picture of both dysfunction and resiliency, a community "code" that served both as its' strength and its' Achilles heal, and a person who journeyed through life trying to come to terms with these issues.

Unaware of the accuracy of the "facts," the story of this family is an important addition to those who continually ignore the reality of the "white experience in America" - an experience, that for many, is not couched in race-based advantage. To dismiss an important piece of work such as this based on interpretation of facts or untold pieces of what is an enormously complex story misses the point. Mr. MacDonald, good job on starting an important discussion!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I couldn't put this book down, and I jsut finished reading it for a second time. Mike MacDonald brings the reader into his childhood and won't let him escape. His story of growing up poor in Southie, amidst the drugs and violence and busing crisis, yet still being able to call it "the best place in the world" allowed me to finish the story with a smile on my face. And I challenge the person who wrote that despite the drugs and crime, etc. that he grew up with, Mike was still able to "convince himself" that it was the best place in the world. After sitting down with him last week for an interview/conversation, I believe he would maintain his point of view; he wasn't convincing himself of anything. And that's what allowed me to stay positive through the book: yes, the MacDonalds had to deal with unfathomable pain and hardships, but Southie's tight-knit community made for a home that is hard to forget about. I also challenge the person who in his review said that MacDonald's book was an "indictment" of the gangsters in Southie and that he made "brave accusations" about them; the truth is obvious, and Whitey Bulger and his crew managed to bring unbelievable amounts of drugs and crime to Southie. Despite what the newspapers or anyone else wants to say. I now work in Southie and have seen first-hand the poverty and drugs, but it is still a great community. Mike MacDonald, in his book and in our conversations, erased stereotypes of Southie that existed in my mind and that exist across the country today. He also got through to me that writing can and will allow one's wounds to heal; he is a brave man, an excellent writer, and one of the nicest guys I've met since I began working in Southie three months ago. Y'all have to read this book if you want the truth on one of the most misunderstood neighborhoods in Boston.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone from Boston should read this book
Before the gentrification of Southie and Dot, these areas contained Boston's infamous white "underclass." This book is the story of a fascinating family that lived in Southie in the 70's and 80's, and witnessed and participated in some of the most important events to happen in Boston in the 20th century.

The book is really divided into two parts. The first part takes place when the author was a very young child, and is primarily about his older siblings. It is the 70's, when the bussing riots are threatening to destroy Boston and the Winter Hill gang was hanging around in a certain auto body shop. The author makes it clear that a lot of what he tells about these events is second hand, primarily from his siblings and his mother. However, since they were very active in so many events, and since this book concentrates on the whole family and not just the author, this does not detract from the veracity of the book at all. The second part takes place in the 1980's, when, in the aftermath of the Charles Stewart fiasco, the police are looking for a martyr to prove that they're not rascist. They settle on the author's younger brother.

The most fascinating thing about this book his how the author manages to chronicle how a family and a community can disintigrate while remaining as strong as ever. Not everyone in the family, or the community makes it through the book, and as Southie is quickly becoming hot real estate it is sad to think of the community that is being condo'd over.

Anyone who is interested in knowing why Boston is the way it is now should read this book. Boston is still living with the repurcussions of the period that this book covers, and this book offers a fascinating first (and sometimes second) hand account of the events that shaped our city.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Eye-Opening, and Tragically Irish
Ignore the attacks - All Souls is beautiful and timeless. It is at once a story of 20th century American turmoil and also a story with the Irish tone and Irish rhythm, calling to mind Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. But above all else it is, as described on the cover, a family story. A story written throughout a childhood, it tells the tale of a family torn violently apart by fate and circumstance, yet in some form still together, still beating and moving on with force. What many people, including some of my fellow Irish-American Boston residents, fail to grasp is that this story is not an analysis of a neighborhood; it is nothing historical but rather a vibrant story that drives straight into the core of what it means to be Irish and American simultaneously, and how the joy, loyalty, and fierce pride combine with hypocrisy and silence to produce a perplexing Irish-American identity. The story hits home for me, and it's truth is not necessarily in the trivial names of bars or individuals as some myopic readers contend. The truth comes in its message, in the power and emotion in Michael Patrick MacDonald's pride and disgust for the neighborhood that can be at the same time "the best place on earth" and a "hellhole." Do not fight the contradictions - it is contradictory and beautiful as a novel. It's American; it's Irish; it's human; and it's timeless. I urge anyone to read this phenomenal piece of work by MacDonald!

2-0 out of 5 stars 'ALL SOULS' very disappointing!
Highly anecdotal and unreferenced, the memoir: 'ALL SOULS: A Family Story from Southie' (c. 2000) by Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald, simultaneously presented an unquestionable account of the author's tragic family life while presenting a dubious description of the neighborhood of South Boston.

Any life-long resident of South Boston who reads ALL SOULS will recognize the many errors in this memoir and the author's reliance on hyperbole for dramatic effect; such as referring to a fist fight as a 'riot' or an orderly protest as a 'mob'. The author further uses terminology not part of South Boston vocabulary, such as: Racist, Scapegoat, riots, molotov cocktails, and 'Lace Curtain Irish' (which is straight out of the book: 'Liberty's Chosen Home' p. 30 and not a Boston figure of speech).

ALL SOULS is further marred by the many suppositions, innuendos, and non-sequiturs used to describe residents and the neighborhood: such as the author's detailed descriptions of Whitey Bulger, a man the author admitted he never met; or the mentioning throughout ALL SOULS of the bar, the *Irish Rover*, which isn't even in South Boston but three miles away in Dorchester. In fact, the author seemed to have had most of his Southie experiences on the South Boston/Dorchester border, blurring those two distinct neighborhoods.

While the careful reader will not question the authenticity of the author's account of his family tragedies, some of which appear self-inflicted, the MacDonald family, as presented in ALL SOULS, had serious issues way before they moved to the Old Colony projects - therefore, 'ipse dixit', those tragedies 'happened' in South Boston, they were not 'caused' by South Boston, as implied in ALL SOULS! For the vast majority of South Boston's diverse & multi-cultural 32,000 residents, except for forced busing, Southie was a good place to grow up!

Neither autobiography nor diary, the memoir ALL SOULS is obviously valueless for serious historical research. The author mistook digressions for correlations, as Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald presented a heart rendering account of his family's tragedies along with a dubious and mechanistic opinion of South Boston history and events. As a complement to ALL SOULS, please read: 'THAT OLD GANG OF MINE: A History of South Boston' (c. 1991) by Southie native Frank J. Loftus, which presented a less posit history of South Boston than the flawed ALL SOULS. ... Read more


187. Charred Souls: A Story of Recreational Child Abuse
by Trena Cole, Madelaine Pinkus-Rohn, Hope Chema
list price: $16.95
our price: $15.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 097235350X
Catlog: Book (2002-10-04)
Publisher: Oberpark Publishing Inc.
Sales Rank: 43939
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Charred Souls describes the childhood of one child and her 6 siblings as they grew up in a family that used child abuse as a source of entertainment. In her book, she describes the methods of intimidation, torture and isolation used to keep the children from seeking help from others. It also describes how, since much of the extended family practiced the same type of abusive behavior, the children assumed the whole world lived this way. This family, while they may have been reported as potential child abusers, were never charged or prosecuted despite the atrocious, sadistic torture they subjected their young children to. Trena, the oldest child, became the parental role model, nurturer and caretaker for the younger children from the age of five, never having anyone to nurture or care for her. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stongly recommended for citizens, parents and professionals
Paradoxically the very things that make Charred Souls: A Story of Recreational Child Abuse  by Trena Cole perplexing for an academic reviewer are the strong points that make the book well worth the read. The author does not offer a theoretical perspective on chid abuse and, other than concluding that her parents abused her because they enjoyed it, she does not seek to explain it. The authenticity of the descriptions are wrenching as the author relates horrendous accounts of brutal, humiliating, chronic abuse of a young girl's first eighteen years of life. It goes far beyond what even the most skilled Munchausen patient could concoct. Yet the tone of the writing is refreshing for the absence of self-serving and indignant claims. Throughout, the author is telling the reader what happened. The writing will be hard to discredit for even the most skilled of those who seem to want to deny the existence of abuse of the kind Ms. Cole experienced.

At the author's therapist's suggestion, she called it "recreational abuse", i.e., done for fun, kicks, and recreation. For the fun of seeing their children's terror, the parents drive out in the country and abandon the children. The children are made to witness one of their pet dogs shot with the threat that the killing is a justified punishment for disobedient dogs and children. The most severe beatings and toxic humiliations were daily affairs. At age six, the author was forced to work in a store for fifty-cents a day which was turned over to the mother as her share of help to support the family. Years later, the author learned that the man in the store was an already known child molester when she started work there. He sexually abused her while she was employed at the restaurant starting when he insisted on examining her to prove that she was not a boy since boys were not allowed to work at the store. The author concluded that her mother enjoyed her daughter's anguished pleas to quit the job. There is an eye opening description of her punitive, involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. The palliative and positive effects of an all too short stay with a foster family lead her to the first realization that not all adults were like her parents. As early as age four she was charged with the care of what became six siblings. Her caring attempts to protect them were carried out at a high price. In a later section of the book the author discusses the dilemma posed by the life saving admonition that "If you are going to make it a double drowning, don't go in".

Reading this book provides a good look into a life of chronic and extreme abuse and neglect, their effects and the author's struggles to overcome them.

The conspicuous absence of intervention throughout the author's childhood by anyone in a position of authority during the less enlightened 1950s and 1960s is no less forgivable than is the blatant under resourcing of children's protective services today  at a time when we supposedly know better. In the current "killing the chickens because we won't wait for eggs" economy, we can pay now or pay more later. The current costs of having over two million Americans in jail (a higher rate of incarceration than any other "developed country") gives one clue to the price of indifference and the lack of prevention. In economic terms Charred Souls gives an excellent view of the human cost. While Ms. Coles very survival is miraculous, it is important for the reader to be mindful of the fact that thousands of American children are not so fortunate and suffer truly lifelong unrepairable damage or worse.

I cannot imagine that anyone could read this book and not be deeply moved and troubled. Thus, I strongly recommend its reading, for ordinary citizens and parents, and for those professionals involved in the protection, care and treatment of our children.

Roderick Durkin, Ph.D...

5-0 out of 5 stars A true miracle of survival
I found this book to be heartbreaking, inspirational and disturbing. It is heartbreaking that Trena Cole was abused so horribly by the people who should have been giving her love, comfort and support. Even her grandmother, one of the least villianous, provided sanctity from other abusers at a price, thus the name "Grandma Fagan."

It was inspirational that; after surviving the humiliation, torture, and chaos; she was able to become a nurturing parent and a successful person. Statistically, she should have become an alcoholic, a drug abuser and/or a prostitute. I truly admire you Trena.

Lastly, it is disturbing that she, or any child, should ever have to endure what she did. I was disturbed by the language that was used toward her and her siblings. How could a child develop any self-esteem when subjected to the constant verbal abuse and humiliation? I guess the thing that disturbs me as much as these children being put through this, is that children are continuing to be subjected to this today.

I wish that everyone could read this book to learn "what not to do" in raising a child. To quote another reviewer, it is a "knock the wind out of you" survivor story and is definitely "not for the squeamish."

Trena, I hope the remainder of your life is as good as your first twenty years were bad.

4-0 out of 5 stars Affecting Account of Dreadful Abuse
This is the heart-wrenching story of an alcoholic, dysfunctional white trash family, where babies were born like clockwork and then subjected on a constant basis to the vilest verbal and physical abuse. I hope everyone who is considering becoming a parent reads this book. This book may also sell more than a few "nannycams", as the sick, sadistic mother here also made a few dollars as a babysitter, subjecting her innocent charges to the same shameful abuses she employed to cripple her own children emotionally. I hope as well that poor Trena's beast of a mother, who I suspect is a narcissist as well as a born-again in complete denial, will read the reviews of her daughter's book here at Amazon and perhaps before her day of judgment realize what evil she perpetrated along with her equally depraved and sadistic husband. I am forced to deduct one star for the extreme editorial sloppiness displayed in this paperback from Oberpark Publishing Inc. of Indianapolis. Apparently there is no one in that city who has ever cracked the cover of a Chicago Manual of Style or Strunk & White's Elements of Style if this sorry edition is any evidence, as grammatical and punctuation errors abound here on every page. To cite just one example, "it's" is used throughout as the possessive form of "it". Trena Cole's story deserves much better support than this, and I hope Oberpark or another publisher will rise to the challenge in a future edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mystery To Me
Why people enjoy torturing, manipulating and mistreating children is a mystery to me. What kind of victory do adults feel by bullying the small and defenseless? I used to say jokingly, on a bad day with my children, "I'll never condone child abuse, but some days I can almost understand it." After reading Charred Souls, I will never say that again, it's not funny anymore. I had never heard the term 'recreational child abuse' until I saw this book and that's exactly what Trena, and her brothers and sisters, lived with. If I were a vengeful person I'd say it would be fitting for those parents, and a few extended family members, to have to live the way those kids did for just one year. But I'm not vengeful and they probably still wouldn't admit the error of their ways anyway, child abusers almost never do.

Trena Cole did a wonderful job making me feel as though I was there with her while she lived through the abuse she was dealt in life. I'm glad she told, I wish more survivors did. The author describes the way the children were cussed at and smacked at all day, every day. It seemed like the children enraged the adults just by being there. They were either enraged and attacking the children, or they were torturing them for fun. Recreational child abuse, who could have put a finger on that one? Trena Cole's therapist. Who would have thought someone would have to come up with a name for such mistreatment? That bunch of sick pillars of the community who had seven kids and abused them emotionally, physically, mentally, verbally and permanently! I have to believe they knew exactly what they were doing and I also believe they will never admit that what they did was deplorable. I would recommend this book to anyone. It's definitely five star material.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review
This book is amazing! I couldn't imagine anyone else went through what I did. The comparisons are bone-chilling...The author makes you feel like you are watching as she describes the situations that plagued her childhood. This is a sad story, but I have faith that it will help a lot of people. It is a battle worth fighting to awaken awareness about child abuse. ... Read more


188. Not Fade Away : A Short Life Well Lived
by Laurence Shames, Peter Barton
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006073731X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 96638
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Some people are born to lead and destined to teach by the example of living life to the fullest, and facing death with uncommon honesty and courage. Peter Barton was that kind of person.

Driven by the ideals that sparked a generation, he became an overachieving Everyman, a risk-taker who showed others what was possible. Then, in the prime of his life — hugely successful, happily married, and the father of three children — Peter faced the greatest of all challenges. Diagnosed with cancer, he began a journey that was not only frightening and appalling but also full of wonder and discovery.

With unflinching candor and even surprising humor, Not Fade Away finds meaning and solace in Peter’s confrontation with mortality. Celebrating life as it dares to stare down death, Peter's story addresses universal hopes and fears, and redefines the quietly heroic tasks of seeking clarity in the midst of pain, of breaking through to personal faith, and of achieving peace after bold and sincere questioning.

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Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and truly memorable!
When I saw Laurence Shames interview on televison last week, only having caught a portion of it -- for some inexplicable reason I felt compelled to read this book. I mentioned my interest in reading this book to a few people, and got some sideways glances...I'm sure they were wondering why a pregnant woman would be drawn to a memoir of a dying man? Shouldn't I be reading something a bit livlier? I knew just enough about the remarkable life of Peter Barton that I really wanted to know, what were his final thoughts?

This book is about the adventure of being alive, the choices we make and the risks we take that make it incredible. There are pearls of wisdom in this book -- his remarkable insight into business, parenthood, love and of course the eventual struggle we all will face with our own mortality. It's the type of book you finish, and then just sit there for awhile soaking it in -- feeling a bit changed from having read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why is this book not on the bestsellers?
Laurence Shames and Peter Barton have written one of the best books since Tuesdays with Morrie. I enjoyed every page and found Mr. Barton's life and dying experience to be funny, sad and touching. We are given the opprotunity to see inside of a man who worked hard and had "everything" only to die at a young age. However, he provides the reader with insight as he goes through the dying process. What he learned about his parents, his wife, children, himself and life. What really becomes important when you know your time is limited and how it effects how you send that time.

After reading this book my only questions was why has someone not gotten the word out about this touching story? If you like Tuesday with Morrie you will love Not Fade Away..you go way from reading the book with a greater knowledge of what we all will have to face day.

Mr. Barton has blessed us with his experience. READ IT-- and spread the word!

4-0 out of 5 stars A READERS DIGEST TYPE OF LIFE...CONDENSED
This book is about Peter Barton and he has written half of it and the biography part is by Laurence Shames. My personal philosophy is pretty well set in stone, but for a younger person, this book should be a good primer in how to live...well. Mr. Barton tried to do many things and did do them well. His serious occupation did not develop until his early 40's (along with his marriage) and the story of how he arrived there is very interesting. He was responsible for much of what you see on cable television today and his ideas of what to look for in finding a job for yourself is enlightening. His attitude of life is superb and you should get a lot out of reading about his stairway to the stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peter Barton: A brief but very full life!
Pete and I were classmates at Loomis. The recommendation to read his book came during our recent 35th reunion. I have two observations after reading it: the first, is my regret at not having kept up with Pete. He lived his life fully and always had a lot of fun. He was irreverent, a trait I admire. The second is his admonition to slow down and enjoy the "now" that life offers. It has given me pause as I reflect upon my own life and values. While most in my generation have assumed responsibilities that require more than the narrow focus of living entirely for the moment, Pete's experiences in the last year of his life show that responsibility and enjoying the now can go hand in hand: after all, today may be all you have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sad but Good
A sad but inspirational book. Maybe not for the top of your reading list, but one to consider. If you enjoyed "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", "My Fractured Life", and "Father Joe" then this could be the next on your list. ... Read more


189. She's Not There : A Life in Two Genders
by JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076791404X
Catlog: Book (2003-07)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 28198
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The exuberant memoir of a man named James who became a woman named Jenny.

She’s Not There is the story of a person changing genders, the story of a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret; above all, it is a love story.
By turns funny and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the remarkable territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. She’s Not There is a portrait of a loving marriage—the love of James for his wife, Grace, and, against all odds, the enduring love of Grace for the woman who becomes her “sister,” Jenny.
To this extraordinary true story, Boylan brings the humorous, fresh voice that won her accolades as one of the best comic novelists of her generation. With her distinctive and winning perspective, She’s Not There explores the dramatic outward changes and unexpected results of life as a woman: Jenny fights the urge to eat salad, while James consumed plates of ribs; gone is the stability of “one damn mood, all the damn time.”
While Boylan’s own secret was unusual, to say the least, she captures the universal sense of feeling uncomfortable, out of sorts with the world, and misunderstood by her peers. Jenny is supported on her journey by her best friend, novelist Richard Russo, who goes from begging his friend to “Be a man” (in every sense of the word) to accepting her as an attractive, buoyant woman. “The most unexpected thing,” Russo writes in his Afterword to the book, “is in how Jenny’s story we recognize our shared humanity.”
As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and our intuitive selves. Through the clear eyes of a truly remarkable woman, She’s Not There provides a new window on the often confounding process of accepting ourselves.

... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars companion piece
First, this book should be read with Richard Russo's Empire Falls, his brilliant novel of small town life. Russo plays an important role in Boylan's book as best friend and reluctant confidant, and he contributed a beautifully written afterword. For powerful context, try to imagine Jim/Jenny on the streets of Empire Falls, and you get a sense of the courage it took to complete this transition in rural Maine.

Second, only a comic writer of Boylan's skill could take such an incredibly sad story and find so much humor in it. This book isn't so much a story of a transgendered individual as it is a story of the triumph of humor over even the most difficult obstacles. As in Boylan's novels, this book confronts the essential absurdity of human existence, and finds hope in love and loyalty and friendship. The gender bending premise of this book may attract curious readers, but Boylan doesn't sensationalize this subject. She simply tells a good story that both enlightens and entertains.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful book
This is an amazing book. I've read a huge number of books and articles on the subject recently and not one of them moved me as much as this one. Between the moments when I laughed out loud, tickled by the turn of a phrase or a description of an event, my heart was wrenched and tears came to my eyes. I constantly hear the words of the transgendered person in my life through Jenny Finney Boylan's words.

Boylan tell a brave tale here, not hiding her own faults and problems. She lets us see the impact of her decisions on her friends and on her wife, Grace (a truly amazing person herself). This takes the book beyond the story of one person's transition from living as one gender to the other to a book about the human condition and how people handle life-altering challenges.

Because this book is so well-written and covers the broad aspects of a life, as well as the detailed events, it will appeal to anyone who simply wants something great to read. It's really hard to put down, but you have to now and then to catch your breath.

1-0 out of 5 stars What is this book all about?
I think that I would have liked James Boylan very much - a bright, articulate, witty and decent person (by his own account, admittedly). But Jennifer Boylan cannot for the life of her present herself or her cause in any way that elicits sympathy or understanding or even good will. "She's Not There" is a congratulatory and self absorbed memoir of a man becoming a woman, believing that s/he was born a female in a male body. She never makes the case convincingly, however, despite filling almost 300 pages.

I simply do not understand what Boylan is trying to accomplish with this book. She doesn't seem to try to capture the hearts of her readers - say, by portraying the reality or the anguish of being transgendered and the absolute necessity, to her at least, of her actions. One could take this as a failure of her writing skills if she did not in the end simply shrug it all off as "a mystery". One is left then with the unpleasant conclusion that the author is an extraordinarily selfish person who loves the limelight and who is equally indifferent to the needs and desires of those who love her faithfully, and to the legitimate expectations of her readers.

4-0 out of 5 stars What kind of transgender?
When looking at trans books, there's a specific type of review I'm always looking for but can't find. So I'm writing it. This was a very good book, but didn't cover the issues I'm looking for. I got my hopes up because of the subtitle: A Life in Two Genders, but if you want a book that discuss what gender is, how it influences our lives, understanding wider gender expression, and confronting the binary gender system, this is not it. Also, the concept of trans as a medical condition that is "fixed" through hormones and surgery doesn't gel with my experience of being genderqueer.
Nonetheless, if you're looking for an excellent, insightful, and compelling story that focuses on the moving from one binary gender to the other, I would definitively recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars She was there.
This book was so wonderful. It was better than I thought it was going to be. I couldn't help but feel a little skeptical when this book was first suggested to me but after I read the first 5 pages I was hooked.

Jennifer Finney Boyland tells her story of how it felt to live life in two different genders. She was born into the world as a man, James Boyland, but felt as though something was wrong. He felt as though he was supposed to be a woman, but he never told anyone and held all of those feelings inside. One day he could not suppress these feelings anymore...

This book was written beautifully. It is easy to read and very funny at times. Jennifer Finney Boyland tells you the truth and explains exactly how it is. She doesen't try to hide her true emotions on any topic. She explains how her children felt about their daddy turning into a woman, how the other professors at Colby College reacted to her gender changing, and what her parents thought of the issue.

Richard Russo has written a commentary at the end of the book which is particularly touching. It gives an insight to the reader about the friendship he shares with Jennifer Finney Boyland.

I would reccomend this book to anybody. The topic of which it is written about may be a shock to some people but by the time the reader finishes the book, there is a better understanding of gender issues and difficulties with which the writer dealt with. ... Read more


190. The Way Home : A German Childhood, an American Life
by ERNESTINE BRADLEY
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037542279X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 82092
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Strength of the Human Spirit
This superb volume epitomizes the value of the memoir genre. The auhtor's painstaking self-questioning produces a memorable work, as valuable for its insights as for the multi-dimensional and candid perspective of a witness to WWII from the "other" side. Dr. Bradley admirably describes a lifetime of being a survivor: of poverty, of the war, of divorce, and finally of cancer. But her book is in every sensse not merely survival but a tribute to triumph over each adversity. We glimpse not only the strength of the human spirit but the sometimes agonizing building of that inner strength and courage.It is well worth OUR journey to experience Dr. Bradley's journey home.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply inspiring with moving honesty and profound insights
I read "The Way Home" with gratefulness and great interest. It is written with a forthright honesty that I treasure. I was given the gift of witnessing a remarkable life filled with meaning and integrity. I am moved by the clarity with which Ernestine Bradley realizes the traumas and problems of her childhood. I admire the courage and endurance with which she has pursued her inspiring life journey of breaking away from it. I love her definition of happiness. It touched me deeply, particularly where she writes that it "consists of constantly expanding self-knowledge, of the desire to know who you are and the imperative not to lie to yourself and others." Ernestine Schlant has overcome cancer, which she experienced as a life-enhancing gift that deepened her marriage and allowed love to be expressed freely with her children and grandchildren, and in her friendships. "The Way Home" is a deeply inspiring book, filled with profound insights and a rare, beautiful and moving truthfulness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Journeys with Ernestine Bradley
There are some books that have such a sense of immediacy and urgency about them that when you start to read them, you just cannot put them down.They pull you in, they make you forget about eating and sleeping, they gently ask you to surrender.And if you do so, you embark on a great journey through someone else's world that suddenly becomes your world.The Way Home by Ernestine Schlant Bradley is one of those books.

Weaving together in a seamless tapestry the stuff that great novels and great lives are made of-betrayal, separation, loss, defeat, triumph--Ernestine uses memory as a vehicle to initially transport her readers to the small town of Passau, Germany, where she grew up during the Nazi period and after World War II; she then flies us on her fictional magic carpet to the United States where she arrives in the fifties to escape the strictures of family and country and to begin a new life as stewardess, university student, mother, professor, wife of Senator Bill Bradley, breast cancer survivor, and perpetual commuter between her Washington home, where she spent the weekends with her daughter and senator husband, and Montclair State University, where she taught courses in German literature and culture and Comparative Literature.

The many rich and complicated experiences that Ernestine lived in these different geographical and psychological worlds are the ostensible subject of The Way Home.But her memoir is much more complex than this simple description: as she uncovers and reveals countless layers of silence and truth, as she merges her personal history with a piece of both Germany history and American history, and as she views defeat as an opportunity rather than a loss, she offers us an inspiring tale that somehow speaks to all of us.

Those who have longed for independence and who have struggled to separate from family will find a piece of themselves in this book as will those who have confronted confusing and distorted family histories.

Those who came to this country to begin a new life will find a piece of themselves in this book as will those who learned to scrutinize their national past once they left the homeland.

Those who have fallen in love and found safety and affirmation of the self in a nurturing relationship will find a piece of themselves in this book as will those who have negotiated the tremendous pulls of motherhood and career and career and marriage.

Those who are cancer survivors will find a piece of themselves in this book as will those who experienced through illness a way of letting go.

Finally, all of us for whom little moments of the past evoke big emotions will find countless echoes of our own lives in this memoir that is Ernestine Bradley's account of a life fully lived. ... Read more


191. Enslaved by Ducks
by Bob Tarte
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565124502
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Sales Rank: 22799
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The book that Entertainment Weekly called "hilarious," Publishers Weekly declared "a true pleasure," Booklist called "heartwarming," and the Dallas Morning News praised as "rich and funny" is now available in paperback.

When Bob Tarte bought a house in rural Michigan, he was counting on a tranquil haven. Then Bob married Linda. She wanted a rabbit, which seemed innocuous enough until the bunny chewed through their electrical wiring. And that was just the beginning. Before long, Bob found himself constructing cages, buying feed, clearing duck waste, and spoon-feeding a menagerie of furry and feathery residents. His life of quiet serenity vanished, and he unwittingly became a servant to a relentlessly demanding family. "They dumbfounded him, controlled and teased him, took their share of his flesh, stole his heart" (Kirkus Reviews).

Whether commiserating with Bob over the fate of those who are slaves to their animals or regarding his story as a cautionary tale about the rigors of animal ownership, readers on both sides of the fence have found Tarte's story of his chaotic squawking household irresistible--and irresistibly funny.
... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Must-Read for Pet Slaves of Every Variety
Bob Tarte's Enslaved By Ducks is a laugh-out-loud funny, beautiful, and insightful book about how he and his wife Linda live with and care for their vast menagerie of animals in rural Michigan. This book was in the Staff Picks section of the bookstore and I'm so glad I plunked down the hardcover price. The entertaining and often touching tales of Bob's life with a seemingly endless number of animals brought lots of smiles to my face and even had me afraid to read this book in public. You never know when you're going to bust out laughing with this one, but I'd estimate that once on every page is a fairly good guess. If you've ever toyed with the idea of starting your own Noah's Ark, here's your reality slam. Don't get that third, fifth, or tenth pet without reading this book first!

It started innocently enough with a bunny named Binky. Being a bunny slave to two angelic/demonic lagomorphs myself, I found it perfectly fitting that his story should start with a bunny rabbit. Rabbits hypnotize their owners into believing that they must acquire more rabbits, and where it stops no one can say. There are animal tales aplenty here with a strong emphasis on the avian variety. Parrots, ducks, turkeys, geese, starlings, you name it. If birds are your fancy, you definitely don't want to miss this read.

Individuals who struggle with depression will also find a kindred spirit here, as Bob openly shares his experiences with depression and how the daily routine of caring for all his animals affected him for the better.

Every side of being a devoted pet owner is represented here, including the sadness and grief when a special pet dies or when pets suddenly abandon their posh digs for the call of the wild. The upbeat and hilarious commands the lion's share of the book, though, and many passages are to be read more than once as you marvel at the intelligence and antics of Bob and Linda's critters.

Contribute to the care and feeding of the Tarte Bunch now by picking up this book Today. Don't wait for the paperback. If you're a pet owner, you know vets and feed don't come cheap.

Thanks, Bob, for sharing your brood with us. It enlarged my fondness and affection for my own furkids. Maybe I'll even buy an African Grey parrot!

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this Book --Hilarious
Bob Tarte's story of how a he came to care for bunnies, parrots, ducks, starlings and other animals is hilarious, absorbing and entertaining. I laughed out loud when reading how his African Grey parrot blocks his path to the bathroom by threatening to chomp on his toes, or how Bob tore out the walls to reach his bunny. I came to care for his animals and to know them as individuals, like the brave duck, Peggy, and the ailing goose he nurses back to health.

Even if you're not a "pet-person" you'll enjoy this book. It's funny and well-written and offers a peak into what life is like for a big-hearted couple who are willing to shake up their lives for their pets.

5-0 out of 5 stars High land adventures with critter people
I picked up this book on a whim and was so glad that I did...it's the perfect antidote the hustle and bustle of today. Bob and his beloved Linda become unwittingly hosts to an unusual collection of pet animals. Bob's writing brings you into their inner sanctum for hilarious adventure, gripping heartbreak and insights to the connection that people and their pets develop. Even if you are not a pet owner, you will not be let down by this wonderful, moving story. I look forward to the adventures of Bob and Linda in their little corner of the universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Must Read!
I picked up this book on a whim, and was delighted to find it a charming, well-written account of a man and his realtionship with animals. From accounts of zany petting zoo/meat market owners to questionable psychiatric professionals this book will leave you rolling on the floor with laughter. I am thoroughly enjoying this book and will be sorry when I come to the end, so please Bob, write more!

4-0 out of 5 stars For the love of animals
This was about a couple who live in the country and start out with the idea of buying a pet rabbit and from there the zoo begin ends up with turkeys,cats,rabbits parrots,and of course ducks and geese.This book at times is postively hilarious with the reasoning they come up with for getting the different pets and these are ideas that most of us have thought of as reason.The way that the wife wins out with her husband when he just knows that he will convince her not to get different animals and yet he knows he has already lost the battle.The greatest thing about this book is that it shows the love animals no matter what kind they are allow us to give them and the unconditional love they give back ... Read more


192. Uncle Shelby's Circus
by John A. Williams
list price: $13.50
our price: $13.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1418427764
Catlog: Book (2004-06-11)
Publisher: Authorhouse
Sales Rank: 860852
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193. Best Damn Garage in Town: The World According to Smokey
by Henry "Smokey" Yunick
list price: $95.00
our price: $80.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0971146934
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Carbon Press, LC
Sales Rank: 37685
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

3 Volume set with slipcase, 1,100 pages, 409 photographs and illustrations, all black and white, weighs 11 pounds, indexed.

Smokey got the idea for writing a history of stock car racing after giving a talk to explain racing to a group of kids at Lowe’s Motorspeedway, around 1995. He realized that all the people who were a part of the early days were dying and most of the ones who were still alive were too involved with racing to be able to tell the real stories. He started writing this book as a history of stock car racing and ended up with look at American history of the past 60 years through a very unique set of eyes.

The first volume, Walkin’ Under a Snake’s Belly, covers Smokey’s life outside racing, beginning with growing up in Neshaminy, Pennsylvania on a farm, dropping out of high school to take care of the family and going off to World War II as a B-17 pilot. The war stories are told through the eyes of a young man who believed all that the Army Air Corps taught him, but he had a mind of his own and was also hell-bent on having fun at all costs. (If that meant irritating a few generals, then that was just par for the course.)

After the racing years, Smokey ended spending most of his time working on his inventions and working in the oil and gold fields of Ecuador. Along the way, Smokey had a knack for finding fun and adventure everywhere he went. Alcohol, women and speed were his main addictions - he eventually gave up alcohol, but never did give up the other two.

The second volume, All Right You Sons-a-Bitches, Let’s Have a Race, chronicles the stock car racing years in living color. The warning on these books, that they are not to be read by those under 18 unless they are with a grandparent who can translate the social and moral implications of the stories, is not to be taken lightly. (Smokey even includes his own dictionary to explain the terms that racers used in the early days to the uninformed.) Smokey and his band of merry compatriots were racers and there were only two things on their mind when the sun went down – women and booze. Smokey had his share of both during 15 years of racing, when racers were looked down on as the dregs of society. Nothing could stop his dream of being the fastest at the sport he loved, no matter what happened along the way – the sign of a true racer.

During his years in stock car racing, Smokey fell in love with a mistress that he would visit every May for over 20 years – The Indianapolis 500. The first half of the third volume, Li’l Skinny Rule Book, covers his love of this famed event and the wonderful stories of the days before the big corporate sponsors; when it was just men and their machines, sleeping on the floor in the garage and most times coming home with nothing. As the title implies, Smokey loved Indy because the rules were so simple. His inventive mind and knack for thinking way outside the box were at their best when Indy was involved.

The second half of the third volume, Eatin’ an Elephant, covers his years of inventing inside and outside of racing. Smokey’s 10 patents don’t begin to cover the breadth and depth of his inventing. His work with the car companies and on the racetrack led to a host of developments that have improved surface transportation for everyone. The value of some of his ideas and inventions, like his famous hot vapor engine, were never fully realized.

Many books have been written about the last 50 years of American history, but few are this entertaining, revealing and introspective all at the same time. Real stories from World War II, stock cars, the automotive industry and the Mexican Road Race are just a few of the elements in Smokey’s autobiography. They combine to make Best Damn Garage in Town…The World According to Smokey one of the most interesting books in a long time. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tellin it like it is
Smokey tells it just like he sees it. No political correctness here. If he thinks something stinks, he says so. He has no love lost for Bill France and company, but respects many others.

His writing style is straight to the point, amusing and raw. But it's the way he sees things...and he repeats that point...that it's just his opinion and urges the reader to make up their own mind.

I highly recommend this set. And I salute you, Smokey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Know Racing. Know Smokey!
Smokey Yunick, as many know, was a no non-sense guy who not only loved and lived cars and racing - he WAS cars and racing.

Whether you were a backyard teen-mechanic from the 60's, or a professional mechanic or racer, your entire life was -and still is- influenced by Henry "Smokey" Yunick.

I never met Smokey, but because of my older brother's avid passion as a mechanic and certified 'car nut', I heard all about him for years.

My brother told me about the book: hinting real hard that, "..he'd love to have it!" So, I hustled a copy of this book for my own reading from a 'grease monkey' friend. After only the first brief review, I knew this would truly be a life-time gift for my brother.

He loves it! Reading this tome on the history of the 'gas engine racing legend': Smokey Yunick; especially because it's in Smokey's own writing and words; is a treasure to him. Every week he thanks me for the gift.

Get the book - before you can't find it. It's not cheap now .. and will only get more expensive with time. The really good stuff does this, you know!

This is an heirloom - not just a book. Even if you're not 'into reading' a 'typical book' .. this is like picking up the ultimate Chilton's! You won't be able to put it down. And besides, with this book you'll learn more than you've already forgotten!

Enjoy !!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box
Don't let Smokey's style of storytelling stop you. When you finish all three volumes you will have probed the mind of a true hero. I wish Smokey had written this book sooner. I met Smokey, at Indy, in the early 90's. Today I would have much more to talk to him about. Smokey was the example of "Thinking outside the box"

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Damn Book To Have In Your Racing Collection
When Smoke said he'd tell like it is, he didn't lie! The history lesson he gives you is worth its weight in gold.There is so much to learn and appreciate from his book. He was a unique man, with a colorful history and not just in racing. I have attended numerous lectures and roundtable discussions he held at the annual PRI shows, they were always one of my favorite things to go to. Only way to desribe Smokey in my book is, he was one smart cat! Whether some of his "Associates" will admit it or not, they will definetly miss his insight,his wisdom, and his courage to step over the line. Thank You Smokey for All That You Have Done.

5-0 out of 5 stars I have never laughed so hard...
I couldn't believe that one man could do so much in one lifetime. He was a B-17 pilot in WWII, raced in the early days of NASCAR, won at Indy, served as a consultant to the big car companies and drilled for oil and mined for gold in Ecuador. There is not much he didn't do and he is such a great storyteller that it is impossible to put down.

His style is very much stream of consciousness and his language is straight out of the garage, but these stories would not be believable if the text was polished and cleaned up. When I first read these books, I didn't know anything about Smokey, but by the time I was finished, I felt like I knew how his mind worked on everything from engineering to chasing women.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in cars, racing, war history or just learning more about a great time in the history of this country through a set of eyes that saw much more than their share. By the way, the chapters on his wife and his dogs will take you competely by surprise. ... Read more


194. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D
by Lizzie Simon
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743446593
Catlog: Book (2002-06-25)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 61841
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A finely wrought memoir of mental health, Detour takes a genre explored by Susanna Kaysen and Kay Redfield Jamison and propels it in a revelatory and rebellious new direction.

Detour is the extraordinary first book by Lizzie Simon, a twenty-three-year-old woman with bipolar disorder. We meet her as she is set to abandon her successful career as a theatrical producer in New York City, with plans to hit the road and find other bipolars like herself -- young, ambitious, opinionated, and truth-seeking. Her goal: to speak with them candidly without judgment, fear, or the slightest trace of anything clinical or jargon-laden. She wants their stories in their words.

But after falling in love with her first interviewee, a troubled millionaire, the truth and the path become increasingly difficult to find.

She indeed finds inspiring bipolars. Marissa, a twenty-something African-American adoptee; Jan, a popular rock 'n' roll radio deejay and mother of two; Matt, a quiet college student from the South. Each is resilient, wise, healthy, and hopeful. Yet each harbors stories of mania and depression that defy the limits of human experience and survival.

But if she's achieving what she set out to do, then why does she feel more alien and alone than ever? Part road trip, part love story, part mystery, Simon has created a heartbreaking narrative of her cross-country quest.

With brave humor, Simon writes guilelessly about herself, her past, and her search for "a herd of her own." She explores that shifting gray area where illness and identity intersect and blur, with the eye of an insider and the heart and soul of a survivor. Accessible and unique, Detour not only opens an intimate window on the day-to-day condition of living with a mood disorder, it also speaks to our universally human struggle to become whole. ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Want More in a Good Way
I usually have a difficult time keeping focused while reading but found myself at the end of this book in 2 short days! I found the page layout to be easy to read. It keeps the reader's attention focused. What may have started out as a great bipolar idea to take a journey and write a book about it became more a learning tool for life. Lizzie Simon takes us on her journey to find her sense of belonging to the group of people that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She only wants to interview young successful bipolar because she is afraid that she will lose her success due to this illness. She is afraid that she will give up on herself at some time in her life. Lizzie Simon gives us a glimpse into the struggle that bipolar people go through to find their way. She comes across as a know-it-all at times but proves that she is on a journey like all people. She makes mistakes too. She talks about her inability to believe alternative treatments but at the same time drinks alcohol while taking lithium.
I agree with Lizzie about learning all you can about what it means to be bipolar. This book should be a definately recommend for all mental health professional's reading lists. I got more out of this book as compared to Kay Redfield Jamison's "An Unquiet Mind". I found that book slow and it skirted around emotional issues more than Lizzie Simon's book. I have been looking for a book like this for some time now. Like a bipolar person, it still feels like there are things or issues not said. Leaves you wanting more in a good way!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pulls All the Punches...
Thanks, Ms. Simon! Growing up not with bipolar, but with a family tree whose history is all over the block (anxiety disorders, clinical depression, schizophrenia, agoraphobia, alcohol addiction), I commend her for writing so honestly and openly about living with a 'mental disorder', which still relates as 'crazy' to most of the modern, supposedly more enlightened world. In this quick, nicely written work, she relates what it's like to be first lost, then wildly successful, then lost again...finally on a journey to find her 'herd'...and I have felt this so many times over, feeling the affects of my family history, feeling 'lost' without that herd...Lizzie, to our, or (my own personal) benefit, realizes at the end that the 'herd' is 'her' without the 'd'...one's struggle to realize one's own destiny and come to grips with one's own self. I commend her for this brave account...she may be seen as 'self-indulgent', as many have branded Kay Redfield-Jamison (I've read both 'An Unquiet Mind' and 'Night Falls Fast'), but I say it's not self-indulgent, just the truth, raw and real. I only know one bipolar, and he's one of the most bright, intelligent persons I know...I think that if genetic research 'wiped out' the 'mental disorders' as we know them, that some of the most special, creative and brightest persons we know on this planet would not exist...and although mental illness places a great toll on families, on individuals, on society, as Lizzie explains her troubles with her families and relationships with other, the world would be a rather bland place without their insight. I think the great Abraham Lincoln (known to suffer black moods himself) once said something to the same effect. Suffer kindly your 'fools', your 'drunkards', your 'crazies'...they just might change the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age
This is a coming of age book if there ever was one. Throughout the book, Lizzie talks to the reader, reminding us that she is an idealistic, talented girl. I get the impression she was looking at one of her journals that she references frequently and thought "I could publish this and be a star."

I would add to this book a foreword by someone in the medical profession to provide the disclaimer that this is Lizzie's opinion of the bipolar affective disorder and that it is not a dummies guide to bipolar.

My critque is in Lizzie's self-character development. The whole business of drive around in Daddy's SUV and interview Daddy's friends' patients was basically meaningless. Just statistics. Perhaps a collection of essays by people would have been better. Her relationship with a unstable person could have been expanded on to much benefit. This is why I term this book 'coming of age.' Her discovery that she can't make herself better by giving it all to someone who is worse of than her is a critical point for the mentally ill, drug addicted, etc. In her emphasis to find her clique, er, herd, she realizes the illness does not define her. I am suspecting that Detour 2 will have more insights as Lizzie grows beyond her ivory tower, so to speak.

This said, the book is a quick, fast read. I see it as breaking new ground and hope there will be some books or essays available that are not written by celebrities (Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher) or rich white girls (Lizzie Simon), but instead from the perspective of one of the many average yet function mentally ill. I think it is an excellent book for anyone looking to get a anectdotal information on manic-depresson or who enjoys the coming of age genre.

Lizzie Simon deserves praise for sharing her coming of age as a bipolar kid story. She also deserves praise for taking on the role of spokesperson of the young to this important issue.

Read the book, but take it with a grain of salt.

3-0 out of 5 stars Engaging, yet half-baked
This is a tricky review to write since I have tremendously mixed feelings about this book. Ms. Simon has a good voice as a writer, but this book still came across to me as half-baked. Between the pages that were three-quarters empty and the wide double-spaced lines, I felt like I was reading a final paper someone turned in for a freshman year composition class after procrastinating too long. She also comes across as elitist and cloistered, particularly when she visits the South. I mean, how worldly do you have to be to realize that people on the whole take religion pretty seriously in the South? She is dumbfounded by that. There is more to the world than Providence prep school, Paris, and Columbia. And I question her methods of tracking down successful bipolar people. I wouldn't expect to find successful (by her definition, anyway) bipolar people by contacting local public support groups. Usually you're in support groups when you're not doing so hot, then you do better and you leave. She would have been better off figuring out who the high-dollar psychiatrists were in different cities and contacting them for their successful patients. Instead we get her driving around, sort of taking a vacation, sort of working, making a bunch of calls, and hoping it falls together. And in some ways it did fall together: I really value her story of her illness and the way she described it. It was moving and gripping. Also, her interviews with the more successful people and the contrast with Nicholas was very enlightening. There are a lot of self-medicating bipolar people out there that manage to get by but are living on a knife edge. It's good to read about some people who have figured out a healthy way to manage their illness. Despite my critical tone though, I did really enjoy most of the book, but I was left wanting more, both in a positive and negative sense.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very compelling...
This is a difficult review to write. Ultimately, I am reviewing this book through my own experiances as a bipolar person. And I suppose I am filtering her experiences through mine which are both more...and less than hers.

The books starts at the place where she becomes most *ill*...symptomatic, if you will. She is prescribed an anti-depressant and becomes manic in the extreme. The CIA is around every dark corner, sleep becomes foreign and the mundane takes on evil connotations. It is the discription that is probably portrayed in crime drama prime time television the most.

Ultimately, with diagnosis and medication her life evens out (to the extent that a bipolar person's life can really ever even out) and she decides to find her *herd*... People that she will have the most in commom with... People who are young and successful... People who, I think, she can draw the knowledge she can succeed from.

The book is of her travels cross country in her father's SUV interviewing bipolar people who were diagnosed between 16 and 35 years of age. It is of how they feel, how she feels about them... and ultimately how her disorder intersects with the book and her relationships.

I had reservations about reading the book and how it would make me feel. In the end, I am glad I did. I think that her observations were astute, non-judgemental, and not self-serving. I think she was very open and very clear and correct about her observations of *stigma* in our society. How it affects and effects people, how it's very insideous. I think she is correct in that there isn't one *bipolar herd* to be found and that people can and do do very well. That success is an individual measurement and best measured by the individual.

I would hope that non-bipolar people reading this book would grap these things as well as other things... including the courage showed by everyone in this book, just to go on another day, just to try one more drug, just to make amends for things done.

I had alot of sceptical feelings going in... but I had nothing but positive feelings on the way out. Full cycle, you might say. ... Read more


195. No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel
by Janice Dickinson
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060009462
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 18084
Average Customer Review: 3.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The life of Janice Dickinson is a story of extremes: uncontrolled energy, mad self-confidence and crushing insecurity, a boundless appetite for life and a ceaseless drive to self-destruct. During the 1970s she was the first lush-lipped, long-stemmed, dark-eyed brunette to break through and become not just a model but a supermodel -- a term she coined for herself.

She graced major magazine covers from Vogue to Elle to Cosmopolitan, in photographs by Avedon and Irving Penn and fashions by Versace and Calvin Klein. She was voracious in everything: affairs both passionate and casual, endless partying, and a drug habit that dogged her through twenty years and three husbands. She spent her glory days with Gia Carangi and Christie Brinkley and her nights with Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Sylvester Stallone. And wherever she went, Janice captured the imagination of everyone who encountered her.

Yet the tale Janice Dickinson has lived to tell is no mere diva cartoon. For the haunting undercurrent in her life is a violent dance of cruelty and abuse with her own father -- a story she tells here for the first time. And as she careens from runway to rehab to rock bottom to recovery, readers will be captivated by her tale of survival . . . and by its cautionary power for anyone who still believes that fashion -- or life -- is an easy business. ... Read more

Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest memoir by an early super model
Janice Dickinson was one of the first models who not only broke the mold of the blonde, pale and WASP-y supermodel but turned it on upside down, in the tradition of Gia Carangi, Cindy Crawford and Beverly Johnson. Born with looks that turned heads and drove men to their knees, Dickinson was not as blessed when it came to her personal life and self-image. She seemed destined to self-destruct but somehow managed to recreate herself until time, drugs and her past caught up with her.
Does this sound like just another dreary tale of a beautiful woman who let fame go to her head. drugs muddle her brain and life pass her by? Think again. Pick this one up and I doubt you'll put it down again till you've read every sentence. FOr one thing, Dickinson has the courage to spill almost all about the ups and downs of her life (although I'd LOVE to read what she doesn't reveal) and that, in itself, is compelling. She's honest about many of her flaws and revealing about the lives of celebrities who cross her path, including Sylvester Stallone, Christie Brinkley, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and others. This makes for a juicy read. I'll leave it to you to decide what is true and what isn't. What I CAN say is that this book definitely isn't boring or dry. CAUTION: There are some nude photos in the photo spread so, depending on your values, you may not want to leave this one lying around the house.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not your average memoir !! Couldn't put it down!!!
This book was an experience to read! It was BRUTALLY honest in its language and its content. It was both a confessional and an insider view to the world of modeling. This book isn't boring for an instant! She writes not just with honesty, but with HEART! There is no b.s. about Janice! She also has a wickedly wry sense of humor. She can be acerbic and outrageous, yet very sweet and sentimental, especially when she's talking about her two children. I highly recommended this book, though I DON"T recommended it for the faint of heart or the easily offended. There are nude photos throughout and very graphic language. But she uses it to make her points, not gratuitously.
If you are looking for a refreshingly different memoir, this one is in a class by itself!

4-0 out of 5 stars Into the world of catwalks
Janice Dickinson is the bitchy judge on America's Top Model. After reading her autobiography, you understand why and come to respect this woman. She is up-front and in your face, tell it as she likes it. The numerous allusions she makes to the people she knows who later become famous are amazing and tremendously fascinating. This book definitely plunges you right into her world. Janice expects to sympathies just that you know the truth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Politically Incorrect...
You either love her or hate her. This book is perfect for people who are akin to risk, but want to be a voyeur.
Her bad language is nothing a bar of soap wouldn't fix.....

3-0 out of 5 stars I read this for hours straight
To be honest I wasn't even that interested in the author in the first place, I was more interested in her lifetime adventures and connections such as Mick Jagger, Sly Stallone, Francesco Scavullo, Warren Beatty, Patti Hansen, Bruce Willis and so on. However, I did get to like her more throughout the book despite of her big (and at times very small) ego. She made me laugh a few times that's for sure. And she is very straightforward and honest, she even puts herself down many a time, I felt I could relate to her sincerity. She's a great story teller. Two things that were overused were, the constant blame she puts on her abusive father for all her mistakes and insecurities. Many happy, successful, stable people out there could use her same excuses and go and screw up their lives, but they don't, they just get on with it, it usually takes a long time, but you just do it. I understand how hard and disgusting a lot of it was for her, but how many times can she repeat the same thing. Didn't she get tired of not taking responsibility for her actions after a while? There was overuse of strong profanity too, lots of us swear here and there, but come on, I have to keep this book out of reach (and not only of children!), it could've still been interesting without all the heavy duty swearing. ... Read more


196. Where is the Mango Princess?
by CATHY CRIMMINS
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375704426
Catlog: Book (2001-10-09)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 33613
Average Customer Review: 4.97 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Humorist Cathy Crimmins has written a deeply personal, wrenching, and often hilarious account of the effects of traumatic brain injury, not only on the victim, in this case her husband, but on the family.

When her husband Alan is injured in a speedboat accident, Cathy Crimmins reluctantly assumes the role of caregiver and learns to cope with the person he has become. No longer the man who loved obscure Japanese cinema and wry humor, Crimmins' husband has emerged from the accident a childlike and unpredictable replica of his former self with a short attention span and a penchant for inane cartoons. Where Is the Mango Princess? is a breathtaking account that explores the very nature of personality-and the complexities of the heart.
... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Riviting and Compelling!!
In her no holds barred book, Where Is The Mango Princess? Cathy Crimmins takes the reader on a candid journey of courage, determination and humor, as she struggles to rebuild her life following a senseless accident which leaves her husband Alan with severe traumatic brain injury. In the weeks and months after the accident, Cathy shares the challenges she and her family face as Alan survives coma, completes rehab,and re-enters the workforce.

Cathy's take charge and 'take no prisoners' attitude as she battles her HMO with a razor sharp wit, is indicative of the conversations many of us have in our heads, but would never dare verbalize. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, I found her story touching, bold and brilliantly executed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mango Princess comes home
Having never read a book that talked about a personal experience with Traumatic Brain Injury, I found myself unable to put the book down. My god-daughter recently sustained a head injury from being thrown from an All Terraine Vehicle (ATV) and I found so much of Cathy Crimmins' story right on the mark. This book can be a difficult book to read because of the deeply emotional subject, but is a touching memoir told with a great deal of humor, and most of all... honesty.

Reading this book will touch anyone who has ever known someone who has sustained a TBI. It's also a book that should be shared after reading it. I congratulate the author for sharing her story; one that shares the heartache and explores the mystery of dealing with a loved one who survives a serious head injury. It's a world that I hope my family is spared from ever knowing firsthand.

I guess we never know how we will respond to a life changing event, and Cathy Crimmins shows the human side - the ups and downs with a rare openess. This is not anything like the Harrison Ford movie, Regarding Henry, where he wakes up a sweet guy afer a serious accident. This is what really happens! This is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars It opened my eyes and warmed my heart
When someone close to you suffers an accident, and ends up in a hospital bed in a coma, the world around you collapses. This happened to us on April 6th 2003, when Mickey was involved in a car accident and was in a coma for over 2 months.

This book has been incredibly helpful. It contains a lot of priceless information, information you CAN understand, complementing it with loads of personal experiences.
Thanks to the very easy language (it can be read as a novel) it has allowed everyone in my family to understand and accept the choices and changes we wnet though and are still going through with a TBI survivor. It has also helped us understand and help Mickey in his recovery process.

I have cried and laughed on endless nights with this book.
I have underlined passages and read them over and over (something I dont do very often)
I have shared this book with the rest of my family, friends, Mickeys friends and caregivers and even some doctors....

Thank you Cathy Crimmins for helping US stay confident, focused, and happy....

This book opened my eyes and warmed my heart.

To anyone going through this terrible ordeal... there IS HOPE at the end. Dont despair!

5-0 out of 5 stars jdubuc
Recently my mother suffered a severe brain anuerism and stroke. She was unconscious for over a week and spent 27 days in the SCU. She was very young and this experience was very tramatic. Crimmins does a tremendous job to explain the oddities of TBI and name them without ever making you feel like you are reading a medical novel. By reading this story, I have been able to cope with confabulation and many other behaviours that TBI patients exhibit, that would have been shocking before reading this book. It is a truely amazing story as all recoveries from TBI are. I would hightly recommend this book to anyone dealing with any form of TBI.

5-0 out of 5 stars Julianna mango princess
Julianna Margulies will be in a new movie Where is the Mango Princess son on TNT! WATCH IT! ... Read more


197. Everyday Matters
by Danny Gregory
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156898443X
Catlog: Book (2003-10)
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Sales Rank: 12466
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Two years before I started drawing, my wife was run over by a subway train. Sounds really terrible, I know. But, well, this book is about how art and New York City saved my life." When Danny Gregory's wife was severely injured, his life was changed in an instant. Searching about for meaning for what had happened to his little family, he began to create a richly illustrated journal of his life. Gregory as driven to record and comment on every aspect of his life, from dirty dishes to cathedrals, from hospital wards to life-drawing classes, from brunch with Hell's Angels to book shopping at the Strand. This unique book chronicles his discovery of drawing, his wife's rehabilitation, his son's infancy, and the life of the city he loves. Funny, bittersweet, romantic, and perverse, Everyday Matters is an inspiration, an invitation to look for the beauty and significance in the details of our daily lives. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Special, Intimate, Lovely
Everyday Matters is such a special, intimate, lovely book, it's hard to know where to begin singing its praises. To open the book is to steal a look inside the sketchbook (a.k.a. the heart and mind) of a man who has just realized that drawing might help him see everything more clearly -- including seeing his way into a whole new life, one in which his wife is in a wheelchair. And that man happens to live in and draw pictures of New York City, which he adores.

Besides the delights of Gregory's words and images -- which are sometimes funny, and other times poignant -- the book also serves as a nearly overwhelming incentive to pick up a pen and draw. And by drawing, to see objects again for the first time. If by publishing the book Gregory wished to remind people to look at the world around them with fresh, hungry, sensitive hearts and eyes, he has succeeded with this reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fabulous book
This is a wonderful book, full of fabulous drawings and stories.

Makes you to look at the small details of your life in a fresh way. Would make an amazing present for anyone - I had it as a christmas present but had to wrestle it out of the hands of different family members who were all just as enthralled by it.

Is great to read as a journal / art book but also SO INSPIRING for anyone who would like to or does draw. Danny's weblog is also worth checking out at www.dannygregory.com for even more inspiration!

This is the type of book you don't read just once, everytime you pick it up, you notice something different. Will be buying more copies as birthday presents!

5-0 out of 5 stars A winner from so many perspectives
If you want to be inspired to draw, or to write, or to live more fully, or best of all to do all three simultaneously, (and if you only have 60 minutes to move closer to your goals)- Everyday Matters is a must read. It's real, charming, witty, whimsical, and teaches art and life lessons that can be applied BY ANYONE. For all those who say "but I can't draw" and even more for those who say "but what shall I draw" this has some answers to the first question and many to the second. It's hard for me to say whether Danny is a better artist, writer, or philosopher. Fortunately we get all three in this slim volume. I can't wait for his next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this gem of a book--
The drawings of everyday objects are delightful and lively, and the story that winds around the images is touching and uplifting. This is a book that I share with my high school students to show them ways that they can use drawing and journaling to help work through those curves and dips that life deals out to us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Slow down and savour this gem of a book.
I loved every moment I spent with this book, from the gorgeous cover to the heartfelt drawings and journal entries throughout. Well done, Danny Gregory. Not only can you draw, you have inspired another to do the same. ... Read more


198. Survive! : My Fight for Life in the High Sierras
by Peter DeLeo
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743270061
Catlog: Book (2005-01-12)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 47051
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Peter DeLeo set out one Sunday morning on a sightseeing and photography trip over the central Sierra Nevada mountains in California, he had no idea that he would soon be fighting for his life with the odds stacked very much against him. DeLeo's single-engine plane encountered turbulence, and he and his two passengers crashed in the mountains. All three survived the accident but sustained multiple injuries. DeLeo had broken ribs, a shattered ankle, and a badly damaged shoulder. After assessing their situation, they decided that the passengers should remain with the plane while DeLeo would hike out to bring back help. It was already winter; he left the limited emergency supplies with the plane's passengers; and he was hampered by his injuries, but DeLeo was determined to get help. He found or improvised shelter at night, carefully warmed himself during the daytime, drank from small pools of melted snow and ice, and slowly but steadily made his way toward civilization. Suffering from exhaustion and on the verge of collapse, he found a hot spring that provided him with temporary warmth and insects to eat. Injuries, dehydration, malnutrition, and a two-day blizzard slowed him, and a rockslide nearly killed him just as he glimpsed the valley and highway that he so desperately sought, but DeLeo's courage saw him through.

Meanwhile, Civil Air Patrol planes searched fruitlessly for the lost plane and for survivors; twice, DeLeo frantically tried to signal the search planes, but to no avail. When DeLeo finally reached a highway, he found it almost impossible to convince the authorities that he was the lost pilot who had been all but given up for dead. His astonishing survival, one of the most remarkable feats of endurance on record, made national and even international news.

Now, for the first time, Peter DeLeo tells his remarkable story in gripping detail. His amazing saga is destined to become a classic. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

1-0 out of 5 stars Questions for Peter DeLeo
Mr. DeLeo:

On the assumption you read the reviews of your book posted here at Amazon.com, I think many of your readers, particularly pilots like myself, would appreciate your comments regarding the inconsistencies between your book and the NTSB accident report.Questions I am personally curious about are:

1) As the pilot-in-command, why didn't you assure that the ELT was operational before leaving your two passengers to await rescue?With 600 hours in your Maule often flying over remote terrain how is it possible you did not know the ELT was never installed properly in the first place?

2) How do you reconcile the reported mild wind conditions with your accounting of sink so strong it caused a rapid 3,000 foot altitude loss?Were you simply caught in a box canyon flying too low as the report (and the video tape) suggests?

3) What are your thoughts ten years later about your lack of pre-flight planning such as not filing a flight plan, carrying the appropriate maps and ideally a handheld radio?

Your survival story is amazing.I doubt I could have endured what you did and survived half the time.

As a pilot though I find it disingenuous that your book hardly mentions the poor decisions that seemed to have made as pilot-in-command before and during your flight.

Your response would be appreciated.

3-0 out of 5 stars Questions
I, like many other readers, picked up this book and could not put it down. An excellent read. Then the questions began. Some things just left me with nagging doubts. I know the area of the crash and the author's trek route very well having spent many summers in this part of the Sierra doing scientific research and the last 30 years hiking its trails in summer and winter.

I too ask why Wave didn't walk out? He was essentially uninjured. Leaving the scene of the crash immediately also seems a bit far fetched- but who knows- people do odd things when they are in shock and injured.

I've reread the book several times now and still many things don't add up. Why did he go east over the crest of the Sierra rather than southeast over the lower portion of the crest? Why go over Olancha Peak when a much lower pass (and easier terrain) is clearly visible to the south of the peak? The east side of Olancha Peak, esp. in the summit area at night, in a weakened condition is a sure recipe for disaster. Why climb the extra 1500 or so feet to the summit?

Weren't there any charts in the aircraft which he could have used for navigation? What was that helicopter doing in the meadow when he just missed seeing DeLeo? The "I would like to know" list goes on-and-on. Obviously he survived - it is really a great survival story- but I think there is a lot more to the story.

All-in-all I liked the book- but I would like to hear more explanations from the author. Perhaps some of those nagging doubts will go away.

3-0 out of 5 stars An amazing story with lingering questions
This is an incredible, amazing survival story. So why isn't it an incredible, amazing book?

In November 1994, Peter DeLeo's plane, carrying him and two passengers, crashed deep California's Sierra Nevada range.With a broken ankle, broken ribs and a broken shoulder, he hiked out through deep snow in 13 days, eating only bugs to survive. He didn't make it out in time for his two friends, Wave Hatch and Lloyd Matsumoto, to be rescued. Both died at the site of the crash.

Survival story fans can live vicariously through DeLeo's ordeal, testing themselves on whether they would make the right moves in order to survive. He offers careful detail about each step of his hike, helping the reader picture where he was and the decisions he had to make.

DeLeo shows that he had to be smart to survive. He chose his route carefully to avoid going in circles. He learned to pick a good shelter (a rocky cave -- too cold; the hollowed out trunk of a tree -- good). He made sure to dry his clothes in the afternoon sun. I sometimes questioned his choices -- at one point he spent several hours climbing a tree to get a better
view -- but the fact is, he made it out under almost impossible conditions, so he clearly did something right.

Still, questions nag at this book. For starters, the author often seems just too cool and analytical about his horrible ordeal. A normal person would be saying, "My broken bones are killing me! I've only eaten bugs for days and I'm starving! I'm wet and cold and just plain exhausted!" But DeLeo instead portrays himself as carefully analyzing the crust of the snow, the angle of the sun, the droppings of wild animals, and the color of his urine (many times). Is this the way he really is, or is this just the way he wants to portray himself?

Was it really necesary to show DeLeo's whole hiking route in the map in Chapter Three, thus giving away much of the story?

And why was it DeLeo and not Wave who walked out?DeLeo describes Wave as having just a bruise on the forehead after the crash. DeLeo had 16 broken bones. Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense for Wave to have gone for help?

I might have been able to let that one go if it hadn't been for the postings of some other reviewers on this site who pointed out that DeLeo left out some important details.

For starters, DeLeo never mentions the important fact that the investigation by the National Traffic Safety Board found that the crash was his fault for flying too low in a box canyon.

Second, while DeLeo mentions making a plan with Wave to use the emergency locator transmitter from the plane, he never mentions, even in the epilogue, that the ELT was found still in the plane, not turned on and lacking a required antenna.

True, DeLeo doesn't *lie* about these things but he clearly dodges them -- because both make him look bad.

Now, you might note that the book isn't really about the crash or the ELT, it's about DeLeo's survival ordeal. So, does his evasion on those two topics really matter to the rest of the book?Yes, they do.In this type of book, you're completely dependent on the author to recount events honestly -- there are no other witnesses. So you've got to trust the author to be giving you the straight story. Unfortunately these issues cast just enough doubt to make readers wonder: "How much of the truth am I getting?"

2-0 out of 5 stars Amazing accomplishment but nagging questions.
I read this book thinking it'd be along the lines of the moving and incredible "Into Thin Air". Unfortunately I was left with several questions about the book and the veracity of the narrator.

His accomplishment in surviving 13 days through extreme conditions is amazing and nothing short of inspirational. I mean to take nothing away from that and would have been satisfied with the book on those merits alone.

However, I felt there were too many unanswered questions. I'm not a pilot but I found it odd that he didn't mention the reasons for the plane going down. Writing from the perspective he was, several years after the incident, he obviously knew more about the crash than he chose to include.

Similarly, I continue to find it odd that between the author (a man with 16 broken bones) and Wave (who is described in the book as completely unharmed save for a bruise upon his forehead) that the author was the one chosen to walk over 45 miles (as the crow files) for help.

It would seem a highly illogical decision for the one severely hurt, especially with a shattered left ankle to make the hike than for someone who suffered no injuries whatsoever. I feel the author's reliability is questioned when he seems to gloss over reasoning for this and offer no collaborative information.

An interesting read but several nagging questions remained that had me wondering what really went on during this entire ordeal. Whatever the answers, his ability to survive is amazing.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm in awe...
I ordered the book shortly after it was published and when I say I couldn't put it down, I'm not kidding.It's been several weeks since I read the book and the story still amazes me.I started reading the book early on a Saturday morning and finished it a few hours later.Mind you, in the middle of that was a quick trip to the grocery store and an oil change.I was so absorbed and wrapped up in the story that I felt like I was living it.When he finally got out to the highway, I was sobbing like a baby.The book really moved me.

I'm not very good at writing stuff like this.But, if nothing else, you've got to read this book! ... Read more


199. Tis : A Memoir
by Frank McCourt
list price: $26.00
our price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684848783
Catlog: Book (1999-09-21)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 49092
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The sequel to Frank McCourt's memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela's Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949, upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his "pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth," has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and with the same dark humor that distinguished his first memoir: race prejudice, casual cruelty, and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt's openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can't help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, set in a Limerick graveyard. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (528)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Natural Progression
Those of us who grew to cherish the irresitible McCourt children of "Angela's Ashes" waded through Malachy's memoirs until we could take up the Limerick jigs in brother Frank's sequel. Well here 'tis and though many readers have been dissappointed in the struggles in America, struggles so related to the prior Irish version of world view, I find the growing pains of the "re-patriated Frank" endearing. The view of the self as secretively fraudulent is not new, but rarely has the payche of the American Dream been so personally defined. We all are foreigners to this land, whether in our generation or ones past, and following Frank McCourt's voyage from being "uneducated" to becoming a warm and caring Teacher brings many moments of tender relating.

Although the significant charm of "Angela's Ashes" was McCourt's uncanny ability to maintain the child's point of view, means of thinking, modes of expression that made his book so touching, "Tis" fleshes out all the characters seeded in that memoir and allows the passage of time and maturity of the original voice to win us over at last. Is it a perfect book? No. Is it worth your reading? 'Tis.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Interesting read yet leaves a sour taste"
After reading Angela's Ashses I was left with a feeling of sorrow and admaration for Frank Mc Court. The book ends with his arrival in America and it left me wondering how he would turn his life around.
"Tis" being the sequel, was a captivating story yet it resonated with whinyness. Tis does not create the same feelings of sympathy and admaration for the author that Angela's ashes did so well. The first few chapters deal with Franks settling in period in New York. As the story progresses Frank seems to still complain and feel sorry for himself even though he has come to a level in his life where he has a lot to be grateful for.
Its quite tragic and "off putting" for the reader to hear how Frank complains about his wife not going along with his late night boozing, lack of maturity and self pity. I mean the guy was dead drunk at his wedding. He divorses her after five years and then critisizes her for being a responsible parent.
As the story progresses the more you begin to dislike who Frank has become. But thats life I guess, and he tells it how it is. However the way in which Frank writes, it seems he expects evryone to understand why he is so self absorbed and condone his faults because he had the poor Irish catholic childhood.To me, I just didn't buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING STORY
Sequel of "Angela's ashes", I was not disappointed a second. The book starts exactly when Angela's...finished. It's written with talent. We hear about what happen to the dad & mum afterwards(You can also learn more on Malachy's first book...Read it).
By the way you'll learn of anything happened to Frank in USA, his return to Europe (after war as a soldier) and in Ireland.
A life that could have finished in an Irish lane fortunately made it in USA successfully.

5-0 out of 5 stars WE WANT MORE!
What a follow up. His life was so bad is was good and he tells it the way only Frank could. You practically fall in love with him and pray to God to send you back in time to meet up with him when he steps into America. It was a good ending to a good beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tis is a must read for everyone
I read Angela's Ashes at the suggestion of a very good friend, Louis it was his favorite book and I have say I could see why. When a friend at work saw me reading it she told me about the sequel "Tis a Memoir", I just had to get it and I have to say that when I did, I could not put it down! It is an excellent book, Frank McCourt has such an engaging way of keep his reader hooked! Superb! I love his sense of humor, his triumphs a wonderful and give us all hope, a must read for all ages! ... Read more


200. The Apprentice : My Life in the Kitchen
by Jacques Pepin
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618444114
Catlog: Book (2004-05-07)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 37650
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The sparkling personality, sense of humor, and charm familiar to Jacques Pépin's television audiences carries over to the page in the superstar chef's humbly titled memoir, The Apprentice.

A clever, mischievous, and very likable boy, Pépin's earliest food memories are hungry ones from his childhood in war-torn France. After World War II, his first restaurant job was peeling potatoes for his mother at her restaurant, and he became an apprentice in a hotel kitchen at age 13. In this delightful tale he works hard, plays fair, is kind to others and good to his family, and his efforts take him to Paris, and then New York. Except for the terrible car accident that required him to reinvent himself as a teacher and television personality, he seems to have always been in the right place at the right time. He cooked for Prime Minister Gaillard and then General Charles de Gaulle, met Pierre Franey, Craig Claiborne, and Julia Child, and turned down a job cooking for JFK to accept one with Howard Johnson. But just as entertaining and enjoyable to read about are his tender memories and thoughts about his relationships with his parents and brothers, and with his wife and daughter.

We all wish we could cook like Pepin (and every chapter ends with one of Pépin's favorite recipes), but this enchanting tale will make you wish you knew him. The clear, simple way he expresses himself and the honesty with which he tells his story will bring you to tears, and make you laugh out loud. --Leora Y. Bloom ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Charming, delightful, lovely writing
What a marvelous read!!What's not to like about this memoir?Jacques is a life-loving man who has had a fabulous life cooking and living.The book reveals a man very much like the generous, creative, charming cooking teacher I've admired for so long.His book now demonstrates his skill as a writer and raconteur.Do yourself a favor and read this remarkable book.I was sorry when it ended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the Best Memoir I've Read this Year
The skills that make an awesome chef are the same skills that make an awesome writer, patience, a loving devotion to detail, an appreciation of the sensual - this has it all. It's a great slice of history and does what a great memoir is supposed to do - it allows you to enter the world of another.

Jacques Pepin's book, "The Apprentice : My Life in the Kitchen", is a light and compelling, can't put it down read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Reading
I enjoyed every minute of this delectable memoir. Amusing and thoughtful; Pepin shares an intimate look from WWII France and as an ex-pat in America. I hated to see the book end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book by a great cook
Julia Child (who should know!) has called him the best cook in America today. That's high praise.

Jacques Pepin's life in kitchens, beginning with his mother's cafes and continuing on the Food Channel, is a fast-moving and sometimes surprising journey. As a child he worked on a farm (sent there by his parents to avoid the bombs of WWII) but it's his experiences in his mother's cafes that confirms his culinary talent and hitches his wagon to international stardom in cuisine.

Entertaining and international, this is a book that should bring more admirers to Pepin's already crowded table.

4-0 out of 5 stars Charming history of Jacques' life as a chef
Not being a devotee of the Food Channel, I discovered Jacques Pepin by accident.Channel surfing one day, I stumbled upon Jacques' transforming a big slab of meat into a beautiful roast, trimmed and tied.The sureness with which he handled his knives, his knowledge of the animal's anatomy, and the warm confidence with which he shared his knowledge -- "of course you can do this at home!" -- hooked me immediately.

"The Apprentice" tells the story of how he acquired this deep knowledge, and does it with style and charm.The story opens in war-time France, where Jacques and his brothers were sent to farms in the remote countryside during the summers for their safety... and in the hopes of avoiding food shortages prevalent in urban areas.From his earliest days, Jacques shadowed the women in his life as they cooked for their families, from the farmers' wives to his mother, an accomplished cook in her own right.

After the war, his mother parlayed her cooking skills and entrepreneurial spirit into a succession of increasingly successful restaurants, with Jacques and his three brothers helping out before and after school.From an early age, Jacques knew he wanted to be a chef.He left school at 13 and began an apprenticeship at a nearby hotel.For the next few years he moved from job to job, city to city, working 16 hours a day to lay down the foundation of skills -- stocks! aspics! forcemeats! -- that are the hallmark of the classically trained french chef.

His career as a chef hit a peak a few years later, when in his early 20's he found himself cooking for french Presidents, including a memorable stint for De Gaulle.He then came to America, and embarked on what must have been a very unorthodox career.He served as an Executive Chef at Howard Johnson's and ran his own soup restaurant before settling in as the author, teacher, and TV chef we know today.Along the way he tells the stories of the kitchens and personalities he encountered, from French politicians to American food luminaries such as Craig Claiborne, Julia Child, Pierre Franey.All in all, a charming and engaging read. ... Read more


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