A solid review of addiction theories and treatments and a significant call for biology-based treatment; too bad it’s buried...

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The Affliction of Addiction

IT’S NOT THAT COMPLICATED (SCIENCE ANSWERS ALL QUESTIONS)

An experienced addiction counselor examines the leading causes of drug and alcohol dependencies and suggests a new perspective for treatment and recovery.

In this debut clinical guide, McArnold shares wisdom gained from two decades of treating individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol. Relying on his experiences and several recent studies, including those performed by Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the author concludes that biological predisposition is the leading cause of chemical dependency, with psychological and social factors playing secondary roles. Indeed, McArnold makes the point that not all who drink or take drugs develop an addiction––“only those who are biologically vulnerable in the first place develop an addiction.” In Part 1, “A Call for Change,” McArnold provides an overview of addiction and discusses various theories about the causes of chemical dependency. According to the author, after a drug is taken, the biological response is constant (the body becomes dependent); however, the actual “addiction, the desire to use, can be completely eradicated.” McArnold sounds a call for change, making the case that biology and genetics play central roles in addiction and should be emphasized in developing recovery plans. The idea is to allow addicts to understand that their addiction is not a moral failure or a bad choice but a predilection. In Part II, “Moving Forward,” the author covers genetics, spiral progression and treatment approaches, as well as material referenced in earlier chapters. In all, McArnold’s book shows a noteworthy command of the subject, and his central thesis about the importance of focusing on biological predisposition is worthy of his peers’ review. However, with a great deal of addiction-counseling jargon—“the brain’s re-uptake and receptor sites appear to increase (or in some cases decrease) when neuro-transmitter levels are consistently too high”—the book likely will be too clinical for many readers. Similarly, the writing wanders at times, themes are repeated, and chapter organization isn’t always logical; the epilogue isn’t at the end, for instance. Readability would be greatly enhanced by reducing the book into smaller chapters divided into sections with titles, chapter summaries, and more charts and diagrams.

A solid review of addiction theories and treatments and a significant call for biology-based treatment; too bad it’s buried under clinical text in need of an editor.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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