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Memories of a Storm-Tossed Life

TRUE COMPASS

by Edward Kennedy |

People PICK

REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

MEMOIR

Based on 50 years of notes and journal entries, this monumentally moving memoir illuminates nearly every aspect of the late senator’s personal and public life and times. With incomparable wit and candor, Kennedy offers up his perspectives on Senate colleagues, Presidents past and most of all himself, revealing the tarnish along with the triumphs. He admits responsibility for Mary Jo Kopechne’s 1969 death at Chappaquiddick (he made “terrible decisions” that forever haunted him); confesses that he drank to excess after his brothers’ assassinations; and discusses his womanizing (“At times I’ve enjoyed these pleasures too much”). Redemption came through second wife Victoria Reggie and a renewed purpose in the Senate. Deeply affecting on the subjects of grief, his battle with brain cancer and his devotion to family, sailing and the Senate, this is an astonishingly intimate self-portrait of a man whose belief that “if you persevere … you have a real opportunity to achieve something” was born out by his extraordinary life.

The Possibility of Everything

by Hope Edelman |

REVIEWED BY LISA KAY GREISSINGER

MEMOIR

What would you do if your child had an imaginary friend who seemed not only omnipresent … but malevolent? Increasingly anxious about her 3-year-old daughter Maya’s “friend” Dodo, Motherless Daughters author Edelman and her more spiritually minded husband turned a family trip to Belize into a quest to find a native healer to help their daughter. Edelman writes eloquently about her struggle to accept unknown herbs, whispered prayers and flower baths as potential healing agents, and about the desperation—and love—that drove her there. With vivid descriptions of Belize and its Mayan history, Everything is an intimate account of the struggles of parenting, partnering and faith.

The Year of the Flood

by Margaret Atwood |

REVIEWED BY MICHELLE GREEN

NOVEL

Set in an amoral future in which the earth has been plundered and a pandemic looms, Atwood’s latest is a fiercely imagined tale of suffering that rivals Job’s. Ren, Amanda and Toby—members of God’s Gardeners, a cult devoted to protecting and living in harmony with the denuded land—scatter and survive the initial plague. But when they’re forced from hiding and find one another again, the three become prey for a panoply of male savages. Sexual torture, murder and other gruesome acts ensue. As dark as Atwood’s vision may be, the bonds among her women give her work a bittersweet power.

No Time to Wave Goodbye

by Jacquelyn Mitchard |

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

In her ’96 bestseller The Deep End of the Ocean, Mitchard shepherded the Cappadora family through 3-year-old Ben’s devastating kidnapping and unsettling return nine years later. Now, in this tautly emotional sequel, Ben and his brother Vincent have made a documentary about parents of missing children. Intended as Vincent’s redemption for letting go of his brother’s hand the day he was stolen in a hotel lobby 22 years earlier, the film ends up triggering a new round of terror for the Cappadoras. As a twisty mystery keeps the pages turning, Mitchard explores the resilience of love in the face of “the dark river where [this] whole family had nearly drowned.” Goodbye is a worthy follow-up as well as a satisfying stand-alone.

Beg, Borrow, Steal

by Michael Greenberg |

ESSAYS

After chronicling his daughter’s breakdown in Hurry Down Sunshine, writer Greenberg explores his own calling in these 45 essays. We meet the faded restaurateur for whom he’s ghostwriting and drop in on screenwriting gigs in which he manipulates characters he’d “be ashamed to have invented.” Greenberg’s prose seldom shines, but his portraits of New York’s many characters give the book a gritty appeal.