Book Reviews

Read my reviews of memoirs and biographies for the New York Journal of Books.

What I've liked recently...

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: A fascinating description of growing up poor and biracial in South Africa. My only hope is that Noah will follow up with a sequel; the book ends before his career takes off.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight: An honest and revealing look at what it took to build Nike from the ground up. Even though everyone knows how it ends, I found Knight's story compelling and suspenseful as he narrowly escaped financial ruin again and again.

In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement by John Heminway: A great character study of a heroic female doctor in Africa with a dark past. Heminway writes beautifully about Africa and thoughtfully about his complex subject.

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride: Published in 2006, a heart-felt and captivating story about a Jewish girl who grew up in 1930s Virginia and married a black man (and then another). Told alternately from the point of view of the author and his mother, it opens a new window on humanity.

My all-time favorite memoirs

At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard

My Life in France by Julia Child

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Open by Andre Agassi

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali