Politicians, Movie Stars, & Olympians | Memoir Previews, May 2018

Barak, Ehud. My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace. St. Martin’s. May 2018. 432p. ISBN 9781250079367. ebk. ISBN 9781466892088. CD. MEMOIR/POLITICS
Barak’s life is so deeply entwined with his homeland that any memoir he offers will also be a history of Israel. Here he focuses on his efforts in 2000 to find peace with the Palestinians by proposing two states for two peoples, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He draws on his experiences as a military and political leader to argue that that goal must be refreshed today.

Baruti, Blondy. The Incredible True Story of Blondy Baruti: My Unlikely Journey from the Congo to Hollywood. S. & S. May 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781501164996. $26. MEMOIR
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and forced from his home by soldiers, Baruti fled into the jungle with his mother and sister and survived a horrendous ordeal there. Eventually, he made his way to America, where he attended the University of Tulsa, became a basketball star, and then turned to acting, gracing the screen in films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. A star performance indeed.

Del Rio, Bianca. Blame It on Bianca Del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything. Dey Street: HarperCollins. May 2018. 208p. ISBN 9780062690876. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062690883. HUMOR/ESSAYS
Dubbed the Joan Rivers of the Drag World by the New York Times, Del Rio is happy to share her acid-etched opinions with everyone. I’m putting this book under memoir because Del Rio is understandably upfront and personal as she dishes out the advice.

Druckerman, Pamela. There Are No Grown-Ups: And Other Things It Took Me Forty Years To Learn. Penguin Pr. May 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781594206375. $27; ebk. 9780698186811. CD/downloadable. MEMOIR
As with her internationally best-selling Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, Druckerman ponders human-interest issues of import to us all by bringing in personal anecdote—her sparsely attended 40th birthday party—and insights from her life spent in France.

Knight, Michelle. Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After Tragedy: A Memoir of Life After the Cleveland Kidnappings. Hachette. May 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781602865648. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781602865754. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781602865624. lrg. prnt. CD. MEMOIR/ADVICE
Cleveland kidnapping survivor Knight, whose Finding Me was a No. 1 New York Times best seller, now offers an inspirational book on hanging tough and learning to heal—something she should understand intimately. It’s published on the five-year anniversary of her escape from Ariel Castro, who held her, Gina DeJesus, and Amanda Berry captive for over a decade.

McMillan, Kirstin. Dangerous Animals: A Memoir with Claws. Dey Street: HarperCollins. May 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780062389190. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062389213. MEMOIR
That subtitle is a double entendre, because McMillan—an animal wrangler and animal coordinator who has worked on major Hollywood productions—recalls a bitter upbringing with her animal handler father. Whether under the Ringling Brothers tent or at his animal training ranch, he was brutally in charge of both animals and family, and McMillan was a runaway by age 17. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Mardini, Yusra. Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph. St. Martin’s. May 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781250184405. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250184412. MEMOIR
Mardini competed in 2016 on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro, but her greatest swim came earlier. In 2015, while escaping from Syria to Greece with other refugees, including her sister, she dove into the water and helped pull the boat when its motor failed. Now she’s a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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