MixedNew York Journal of BooksA moving memoir ... The memoir is uneven, with stronger writing in the first third and unnecessary switches from first to second person throughout. But Hill’s account of low vision is a thought-provoking and emotionally powerful contribution to understanding vision loss ... With sensitivity and candor, Hill illuminates the importance of empathy and curiosity when communicating with someone whose disability cannot be seen.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksWhen Harry Met Minnie details Teichner’s experience adopting the beloved dog of a woman dying of cancer. As if the premise were not a tipoff, Teichner warns from the beginning that the story, set in New York City, will be sad, and she does not spare readers the heart-wrenching moments ... Despite the women’s fascination with their dogs [...] readers will likely find the humans more interesting in this tale ... Teichner leaves [...] complicated human topics unmined, instead trying to fit her narrative into the dog-meets-dog mold, with only moderate success. The dogs certainly have their moments: Harry does a bowl-flipping trick that could have gone viral, and Minnie comically burrows into the laundry bin. But theirs is a fairly mundane friendship, not a love affair. What this book says about human relationships redeems its weakness as a dog story: Fertig asks a big favor of Teichner, but it is Teichner who gains more.
MixedNew York Journal of Books\"
Fans of Julia Child will appreciate People Who Love to Eat Are Always the Best People, a gift-size book of pithy expressions and short passages from the beloved cooking teacher. The selected quotes reflect Child’s love of French cooking and her high standards in the kitchen, but also her pragmatism and spunk ... Most of the quotes are classic, smile-inducing Julia Child, although some...feel like filler. The book’s spare illustrations seem too dull to accompany Child’s larger-than-life persona. Photos would have been more fitting. The selected quotations delightfully highlight Child’s combination of high and low brow sensibilities ... This book should not serve as an introduction to Julia Child. One needs to imagine these words uttered in her distinctive voice as she towers over a bowl of eggs, whisk in hand. For the many who already love Julia Child, the book will make a gratifying addition to their library.\
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksWritten with humor and brutal honesty, Group is a bracing, confrontational, and absorbing read ... Tate’s vivid, engaging prose opens the door on group therapy, making it feel like one is right there in a molded plastic chair, watching as Dr. Rosen rocks Tate in his arms after one of her breakdowns. It makes for an addictively voyeuristic, often squirm-inducing read.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksHeather Lende offers a down-to-earth account of life in local politics in her fourth book set in Haines, her small Alaska town ... In chapters that feel like diary entries, including both workaday details and the author’s emotional state, Of Bears and Ballots meanders through Lende’s three-year term without much of a story arc ... At its best, the book showcases Lende’s folksy style and keen understanding of her small town’s culture ... This book will likely appeal more to Lende’s existing fans than to new readers, who are better off starting with her earlier books that deal with more lively topics.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksGrant has written a memoir relatively early in her life. The freshness of her memories from young adulthood make for vivid descriptions of the rights of passage often glossed over by authors with greater distance ... Grant’s writing pulses with the intensity of one’s twenties and all the yearning, passion, and searing disappointment that fills those years ... Grant’s stark, spare memoir feels like the literary equivalent a few bold slashes of color across a canvas. She briefly touches on loaded topics that could be books unto themselves: the culture of elite female dancers, being a woman in the restaurant world, coping with infertility, and surviving postpartum depression ... Grant illuminates the human condition in sometimes breathtaking ways—readers will surely see themselves on these pages—but she fails to fully reveal herself. Offering only the gut punches of a life story is a difficult way for an author to build rapport with readers. Grant’s book leaves one wondering if she is likeable, if she has a sense of humor, if anything embarrasses her. One finds oneself wanting more, which is not necessarily a bad thing—in a book or a meal.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksAs she writes about each stage of her immigration experience, from escape to assimilation, Nayeri includes short stories of other refugees. These interludes provide some interest but lack the power of Nayeri’s own story, which she tells with raw honesty, grace, and humanity ... Nayeri interviews many refugees and those who help refugees, but she does not speak to any current or former asylum officers. Given the way the author embraces the contradictions and complexities of her own experience, her generalizations about the asylum process fall flat ... Understanding the nuance of the refugee experience is surely a valuable pursuit, and Nayeri describes it eloquently...But her granular critique of how we treat the displaced and the poor could scare anyone away from helping ... soars when Nayeri tells her own story. She deftly confronts the contradictions in her family ... a moving exploration of the lasting impact of losing one’s country.
William J. Burns
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksMuch like the author himself: thorough, measured, articulate, and, above all, diplomatic ... Burns’ front row seat at so many pivotal events in American foreign policy has an almost Forrest Gump quality. He was in the situation room when Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, and he flew from Benghazi back to Washington with the remains of Ambassador Chris Stevens ... Unfortunately, his portrayal of events often lacks compelling details. In the case of the bin Laden mission, he fails to describe his colleagues’ mood or reactions as they watched the drama unfold in the Situation Room ... succeeds in conveying the art and science of statecraft in very real terms.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksIt’s clear that Kerry loves politics, and he writes about Barack Obama’s meteoric rise with genuine excitement ... In the book, Kerry pulls his punches and sometimes falls back on platitudes. He never delves too deeply into himself or his colleagues. Throughout the narrative are such non-insights as Kerry’s weakness for chocolate, difficulty with goodbyes, and fondness for straight shooters. His observations about coworkers follow in the same banal vein. His reluctance to ruffle feathers perhaps stems from continued presidential ambition, although he does not write about this ... This fairly guarded, dry account of a life in service does reveal some truths about John Kerry beyond his rarefied lifestyle.
Daniel de Vise
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksOn a turkey hunt, his brother-in-law accidentally fired his shotgun, sending dozens of pellets throughout Greg’s body. The accident punctured Greg’s lungs and could have killed him. Riddled with 60 holes, he looked like \'a human colander,\' his wife said...During an arduous recovery, Greg was fired by his cycling team and lost his financial sponsors. After finding a no-name team to take him, he posted lackluster results in many races before finally hitting his stride. At the 1989 Tour de France, he won by an almost inconceivable eight seconds in the final time trial of the race, beating his former teammate Laurent Fignon. The next year, he won his third and last Tour de France ... De Visé at times fawns too much over his subject, but he also lays bare the undeniable facts of Greg’s amazing talent. That he achieved all he did without the benefit of doping, without the support of an American cycling team, and with a catastrophic injury in mid-career, is remarkable.
William C. Rempel
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksRempel still managed to craft a detailed account of Kerkorian’s 98-year rags-to-riches story, especially his remarkable string of business deals spanning more than half a century, from the handful of his friends willing to talk and a few troves of documents ... The close friends and associates of Kerkorian’s who stonewalled Rempel should not have worried about his reputation in Rempel’s hands. The author unearths not a single valid criticism of his subject and, through multiple anecdotes, shows Kerkorian to be a thoroughly honorable person, a good friend, and a fair dealer ... Kerkorian’s is an epic American success story worth telling, and Rempel assembles a dizzying amount of information about the deals that made him one of the richest men in America.