12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, August 6, 1997
'Life Isn't Fair' offers poignant mix of graduation advice
Life Isn't Fair
"You are not going to 'go forth.' You
are going to take that damn hat off and
you're going to get a job." This wise
piece of advice, spoken by Bill Cosby
to Southern Methodist University's
graduating class of 1995, is one of
many great quotes included in Harold
Hill's book, "Life Isn't Fair."
"Life Isn't Fair" is a collection of
history's most memorable commence-
ment speeches in the last 300 years.
Full of wit and wisdom, the book con-
tains pieces of advice, life observa-
tions and humorous jabs from speak-
ers at various high school and univer-
sity graduation ceremonies.
"Life Isn't Fair" would serve as a
wonderful present for a graduating
student or anyone who has had to sit
through a long, dry commencement
ceemony. Its quotes serve not only as
a way to look at graduation, but also
the greater picture of life.
The quotes are arranged by sub-
jects such as "The Real World,"
"Jobs," "Challenges" and "Success."
Each chapter is chock full of memo-
rable commencement sound bytes
from people such as Ann Landers,
Isaac Asimov, Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Booker T.
Washington and Bob Hope. Bill
Cosby appears to be the most prolific
entertainer asked to speak, having
been cited several times in the book,
speaking at several different universi-
The commentaries in the book
cover myriad points of view and sub-
jects. But most are eloquent and
speak about life and graduation in an
amusing manner. One great quote
that strikes a nostalgic
chord: "Think what
a better world it
would be if we
all, the whole
milk about three
o'clock every after-
noon and then lay down
on our blankets for a nap."
(Barbara Jordan quoting Robert
Fulghum at Middlebury College,
Another quote that speaks truthful-
ly to everyone's heart: "At the end of
your life you will never regret not
having passed one more test, winning
one more verdict, or not closing one
more deal. You will regret time not
spent with a husband, a child, a friend,
or - a parent." (Barbara Bush at
Wellesley College, 1990).
A word of warning about the dan-
gers of flaunting wealth comes from
Russell Baker, speaking to the class
of 1990 at the University of Miami.
He said, "If you want to waste a per-
fectly wonderful lifetime becoming
filthy rich, at least have the good
sense not to offend the neighbors by
praising your own selfishness.
Neighbors are the kind of people who
do jury duty"
And a hilarious quote, to which
most graduates can relate, was spoken
by Bill Cosby at Brown University's
1985 graduation: "Commencement
means to go forth. 'Forth' is not
:< :": ^'>"Life Isn't Fair"
is an eclectic
ful book that
is fun for any
soon - to - be
graduate or ex-
graduate to read.
Its quotes can often
be inspiring, humorous,
helpful and enjoyable. In short, "Life
Isn't Fair" tells you much about life
without forcing you to endure 300
years of long, tedious ceremonies.
- Julia Shih
It's so hard these days to write a
compassionate and engaging book
with characters that people care
about. Especially when the main char-
acter is a hotshot defense lawyer. But
with a lot of skill and a well-crafted
plot,. Peter Blauner has created a mas-
terpiece with his thriller, "The
The novel follows Jake Schiff, a suc-
cessful defense lawyer who has a
seemingly perfect life: a big house, a
beautiful wife and son, and a career on
the rise. But when his life becomes
intertwined with that of John Gates, a
disturbed heroin addict with nothing to
lose, he has to decide how far he will
go for the sake of his family's safety.
At first glance, it would appear that
"The Intruder" is just another page-
turner, thrilling but easily forgotten.
On the contrary - this novel is
thrilling, but also is full of depth.
Blauner takes a profound look at
human nature while creating an exhil-
arating tale about the carrying out of
justice. He weaves a suspenseful plot
with intense subplots dealing with
psychological recovery, drug abuse
and the struggles of homelessness.
Blauner creates an interesting book
that speaks with integrity and hon-
esty, while fulfilling all the expecta-
tions of a terrifying thriller.
In "The Intruder," it is never clear
who the antagonist is because, like so
many cases of criminal defense today,
everyone has some reason why they
committed their crimes. John Gates
can blame the untimely death of his
daughter for his drug abuse; Jake can
rely on the justification that he had
been severely provoked to action; and
Philip Cardi, a Mafia hood, is able to
blame past sexual abuse for his vio-
But strangely enough, Blauner
leads readers to feel sympathy for
almost every character in the book,
making a person wonder what justice
really is, and why people treat each
other the way they do.
"The Intruder" is also not without
its moments where readers' hearts
start pounding and they can't put
down the book. Its many unexpected
plot twists and its exciting surprise
ending hold on tightly to the reader
and aim to please all thrill seekers.
The most gripping part of the book
comes when Jake becomes the one on
trial for a crime he did not commit.
Meanwhile, crack addict John Gates,
previously a dangerous pest but one
who now holds Jake's fate in his hands,
is desperately struggling to regain his
life with a newfound passion. Along
with the rest of the novel, the quick
pace and the impossible odds incurred
by the two men's fight for survival
make for an exhilarating read.
Rarely does a suspense thriller
come along which is so stimulating
on so many different levels. But Peter
Blauner does an incredible job by
making "The Intruder" not only excit-
ing, but also delightfully profound. *
So don't judge this book by its
cover. "The Intruder" may seem like a
shallow thriller that will be easily for-
gotten once the last page is turned, but
it is actually a tale which will stay with
readers long after they put it down.
- Julia Shih
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