One of five children, Pat watched as her alcoholic mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At 12, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior; by 13, she was pregnant. By 15, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at 16, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive.
I've listened to many memoirs, and this was by far the best, ever. Perfectly written, perfectly recited. I loved every second.
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.
Societies are judged by how they treat their least fortunate members. But most of us aren't aware of the injustices perpetuated in our own country.
"Just Mercy" gives us a glimpse into the unjust, corrupt and inhumane world of the U.S. criminal justice system and one man's struggle to help its victims.
If you only read one book this year, this should be it.
Have a box of tissues handy.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
This an amusing, intelligent, and interesting book about being Aasif Mandvi, well performed by the author.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
A social commentary, comedy, memoir, and practical, info-packed journey into beauty treatments including plastic surgery, Men Are Stupid... is for every woman who wants to improve herself, giving the average woman a step-by-step guide on how to look and feel gorgeous, delivered with Joan's signature sense of humor.
This is not a book of jokes. Joan Rivers speaks frankly and technically about every kind of cosmetic surgery one can imagine. Her information is well-researched and thorough.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron’s frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of her and her family's adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender-creative son. Whereas her older son, Chase, is a Lego-loving, sports-playing boy's boy, her younger son, C.J., would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney Princess in each hand while singing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi".
I have little to add to the myriad positive reviews (see Amazon) except to say that, unlike several books I have listened to recently, this one was particularly well edited (with the exception of a couple of obvious glitches). The book flowed quickly – the author provides ample detail yet never lingers too long to make a point, a delicate balance that I especially appreciate in audiobooks. I never found myself wishing to fast-forward or take a break. In fact, I listened to this book almost non-stop.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful
When Rupert Murdoch enlisted Roger Ailes to launch a cable news network in 1996, American politics and media changed forever. Now, with a remarkable level of detail and insight, New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman brings Ailes’s unique genius to life, along with the outsize personalities - Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, and others - who have helped Fox News play a defining role in the great social and political controversies of the past two decades.
I was disappointed in this book (and too bored to finish it). Like him or not, Roger Ailes is a fascinating character. This book, however, was too inclusive of every detail of Ailes career to hold my attention. The relevant bits are diluted in a vast dump of information, which is too bad because this is an important and interesting subject.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution. For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food. Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness.
De Waal’s stories about apes, which were weaved throughout his book, were fascinating and enlightening. De Waal is, after all, an expert on the subject. Not as enlightening, however, were his insights about atheists and atheism. He was dismissive of great thinkers such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens, often quoting them out of context in order to make a point. Yet, I often had trouble understanding what point he was trying to make as his arguments were contradictory: moral norms exist in primates and other mammals and are in inherent in humans, yet human society requires religion to enforce moral behavior; religion is a man-made concept, yet we should continue to pretend that it’s not because it brings comfort and thus is an essential and necessary part of human existence.
I don’t enjoy this narrator as he comes across as condescending.
6 of 10 people found this review helpful
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children - everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills ("they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news"), to the eating habits of four-year-olds ("there is no difference between a four-year-old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor").
This is a cautionary tale about pro-creating beyond one’s means. The author describes the mundane life of raising five young children. It’s mostly boring, at times depressing, and not funny.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful
Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.
Listening to Helter Skelter was like trying to sip water from a fire hydrant. Too much of a good thing. The reader emerges from this book knowing absolutely everything there is to know about the Manson murders. I quit listening about 75% of the way through and I still feel like an expert on the subject. But the book would be more enjoyable – more of a "page-tuner" – if it had been less detailed and repetitive (especially less repetitive).
Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.
If you enjoy the typical celebrity memoire, then this book is for you. It’s bursting with antidotes about Billy Crystal’s charmed life, his rise to celebrity, and lots and lots of name dropping. As a bonus, he includes some stand-up sets performed in front of a live audience, which are okay, but contain mostly reheated jokes about growing old.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful