Kirkus Reviews –
Biographical novel of Anne Morrow and her troubled marriage to pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh. Anne, self-effacing daughter of a suffragette and an ambassador, is surprised when Charles, already a celebrity thanks to his first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, asks her--instead of her blonde, outgoing older sister Elisabeth--to go flying with him. And it is Anne whom Charles will marry. At first, the glamorous couple's life consists of flights all over the world: Anne becomes a pilot and navigator and Charles' indispensable sidekick. However, when in 1932 the Lindberghs' first child is kidnapped from his nursery, the resulting press furor almost destroys Anne. In addition to her grief over her lost firstborn, a grief that Lindy doesn't appear to share, Anne suffers the downside of fame as public adulation turns to prurient sensationalism. The couple takes refuge abroad, where they enjoy the orderly routine and docile press of the Hitler regime, as long as Charles is willing to accept a Nazi medal and attend rallies. However, Kristallnacht proves too much even for Lindbergh's anti-Semitism, and he and Anne return to the States as war threatens. As more children arrive, Anne is beginning to bridle at Charles' domineering ways, however the aspiring author is too insecure to contradict him even as he offends her liberal friends and family by siding with right-wing groups who claim that the Jews are trying to force America into war. At Charles' behest, and against her own principles, she pens (1940), an isolationist screed which renders her anathema to the intelligentsia: Even her alma mater, Smith College, disowns her. In 1974, after 47 years of wedlock, Anne must decide whether to finally confront her husband. Although the portrayal of such a passive character could easily turn tepid, Benjamin maintains interest, even suspense, as readers wonder when Anne's healthy rebellious instincts will burst the bonds of her dutiful deference. A thoughtful examination of the forces which shaped the author of
Kirkus Reviews –
A novel that reads more like a memoir than fiction. The narrator talks the authentic talk of tough girls in the hood, although she continually protests that she "comes from money" and attaches inordinate significance to trivial fashion items like bags and boots. After her parents are arrested, this precocious 10-year-old girl is "kidnapped" by social services. When she takes offense at a remark made by a social worker about her mother, she stabs the woman in the neck with a sharpened No. 2 pencil in the neck and is thereafter incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility, where she meets and trades life stories with other inmates. All of the stories are horrific, some in predictable, stereotypical ways, some so idiosyncratic they could be based on that proverbial truth that is stranger than fiction. Although she is much younger than the others, she is recruited into a clique called The Diamond Needles by an older white girl, and together, they later escape and go to live on an Indian reservation with a woman the girl knows. The novel takes the reader into the moment-to-moment, day-to-day life of Porsche Santiaga from early childhood to young womanhood, a life of dancing, yearning for her family and mourning for her momma; a life of seeking and eventually discovering love. A book that will appeal to the author's many fans.
LA Weekly.com -
“Is there a Pulitzer category for memoirs by jilted reality stars who like to talk smack about ex-husbands and "bonus moms?" Because if so, this book should win it... The best piece of celeb literature we've ever come across.
Kirkus Reviews –
A well-researched book claiming to be "the first complete and authoritative account" of the life of criminal James "Whitey" Bulger. From his Boston childhood to his current home in a prison cell, reporters Cullen and Murphy follow their subject through every documented moment in his life. Bulger is a true "Southie" character, his name well-known to residents of the mostly Irish neighborhood before gentrification. After starting as a petty juvenile criminal, he moved quickly to auto theft and then bank robbery, landing himself in prison. Bulger even did a stint in Alcatraz before earning enough good-behavior time to end his sentence more than a decade early. When he returned to Boston, the criminal underworld was ripe for the picking; rather than going straight, he went to the top of what some called the Irish mob--with the support of the FBI. The authors can't quite decide if they want to let the story become personal. They work hard to refer to themselves in the third person but make it clear what they think of their subject and his accomplices. Maintaining distance was a mistake, as personalizing their involvement could make the book stronger, with more palpable tension and the consequences of attracting Bulger's attention more real. Still, Bulger's crimes and partnerships are so compelling that the pages almost turn themselves. Moments of insight into his mind make the book sparkle--e.g., the scene when he's finally caught and refuses to kneel. The authors explain, "Whitey's biggest concern, he later said, was that there were oil stains on the garage floor where he was standing." Solid writing, remarkable details and the addition of Bulger's fairly recent capture make this a worthy addition to the literature of the mob.