Readers won’t find miracles but rather a sensitive doctor who writes well about an ongoing epidemic.



A physician who focuses on pain management illuminates his specialty.

After a chapter describing the nervous system and another on the history of pain relief—opium has been around since prehistory—British anesthesiologist Lalkhen takes up pain as experienced by patients and dealt with by doctors. The author makes it clear that both could use further education on the subject, which is undeniably complex. A sprained ankle is agonizing while soldiers suffering gruesome battle injuries sometimes feel little pain. In Chinese and Korean cultures, it’s often considered shameful to complain during childbirth, and few women receive analgesics; other cultures insist on “a more vocal response.” While it may be understandable for a patient to not fully comprehend the social and psychological factors that influence pain as much as the physical damage, it’s inexcusable for a doctor. New analgesic drugs have been appearing for more than two centuries, beginning with morphine in 1804. Although many surgeons remain casual about postoperative pain, the treatment of short-term pain remains straightforward. Chronic pain, however, is another story; sometimes it persists after the injury heals. In most cases of chronic back pain, neck pain, neuropathy, and even arthritis and in syndromes such as fibromyalgia, there is no injury and nothing to be “fixed”—but there are numerous ways to help. Sadly, many doctors continue to use procedures—e.g., surgery or nerve injections—that rarely work and prescribe drugs that produce side effects and addiction without relieving much pain. Lalkhen describes his multidisciplinary clinic, where doctors work with physiotherapists, nurses, psychologists, dieticians, and even alternative healers to help sufferers who often arrive addicted and desperate after undergoing repeated failed procedures. The author emphasizes that chronic pain is not curable, but a collaborative approach in which patients actively participate improves quality of life, self-confidence, and the ability to move, function, and return to work.

Readers won’t find miracles but rather a sensitive doctor who writes well about an ongoing epidemic.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982160-98-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.


The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?