RaveThe New RepublicWeisberg’s subjects are columnists, self-help magnates, life coaches, and kind retirees with an internet connection, from Benjamin Franklin to Ann Landers to a prolific Quora contributor named Michael King. They represent a range of attitudes and approaches, and an eclectic, though limited range of experiences ... their work, Weisberg argues, offers a uniquely direct window onto American emotional needs throughout the country’s history ... Weisberg is generous with her subjects, and her scope is wide-reaching: She tackles sixteen profiles with surprising coherence. Each chapter has the clarity and clip of a well-produced podcast episode...and she has an instinct for details that sit memorably askance from the narrative and catalyze interest.
PanThe New RepublicTo make good art from bad things requires, at a minimum, some kind of self-examination, which Gay Talese’s new book, The Voyeur’s Motel does very rarely ... Talese comes from an era in which a limited number of people were allowed to control anyone else’s narrative. The Voyeur’s Motel is, among other things, the product of such entitlement, and it is vile.
PositiveThe New RepublicI’ve read and reread Labor of Love, admiring Weigel’s organization and readability: She has managed to write a substantial book about dating for a popular audience, in the hope that, by understanding historical patterns, we’ll better understand our own tendencies. The lesson is smooth, but the effect is alienating...My reservations about the book had less to do with the book’s argument than the fact that I fail to connect with Weigel’s sensibility. And because these universals—of love and fulfillment—are so personal, it felt jarring to be caught in her logic...It’s not her, it’s me, in other words. But my reaction speaks to the paradoxical nature of a 'dating culture' that applies the most normative ideals to the most personal objectives.
MixedThe New RepublicSanders wrote Sharon Tate 'mainly because of the mystery that still surrounds the close of her life,' but it raises more questions than it answers ... Sharon Tate: A Life is a decent project, dutiful and worthy of acknowledgment; as a read, it has moments, just not coherence. It also seems to predict its own failure, which is ethical, in a way, and honest—the only true outcome of a resurrection attempt.