In a series of funny, tender, and touching dialogues, former Saturday Night Live writer Zweibel recalls his buddy-and-almost- lover friendship with SNL actress Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer. Zweibel claims he ``merely scribbled the dialogues playing in my head,'' and, indeed, these recreated conversations have a neurotic, sarcastic, and vulnerable air of authenticity. The actress and writer become fast friends on the SNL set and segue into personal revelation. Their friendship produces some wonderful scenes, such as when Radner pretends she's Zweibel's girlfriend to flummox a high school rival of his they meet on a train. There are scenes of awkwardness (Zweibel rushes over to Radner's to inform her of a break-up with his girlfriend and intrudes on her date), great affection (Radner has a flight attendant tape a note of apology to Zweibel on an airplane toilet ``because toilets make [him] laugh''), and petty pique. Wearied by a public quick to claim familiarity, Radner asks Zweibel to call her ``Gilbert,'' and she reveals that she says ``Bunny Bunny'' as a talisman against danger. Other dialogues involve Zweibel's venture into marriage and parenthood, and Radner's romance with Gene Wilder. But when Radner learns she has cancer, Zweibel's comedy takes on a more urgent task: to keep her laughing through her pain. His note to her on a transfusion pouch: ``I knew I'd finally get some fluid of mine into you one way or the other.'' And shortly before Gilda dies, Zweibel, with wisecracking tenderness, suggests that they somehow ``just forgot'' to get married. ``Spirits just don't die,'' Zweibel said at a 1989 memorial service, and he has created a moving and entertaining tribute. And he will donate all proceeds to Gilda's Club, a cancer support center in New York City. (Pen-and-ink illustrations) (Literary Guild alternate selection)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-43085-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1994

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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