Heartfelt advice for cancer patients, though the embrace of out-of-the-box healing methods may have a limited appeal.




A cancer survivor offers an alternative approach to overcoming disease.

When Meer (The Story of the Strange Sandwich, 2012, etc.) was diagnosed with cancer (what type is never specified), she was already struggling with personal and professional problems. A serious illness was the last thing she needed, but after the initial shock, she decided that healing would begin in her mind. “I am going to believe I am well. And if I believe I am well, I will be well,” she recalls telling her doctor. This unconventional outlook informs her approach to treatment and the advice she offers to readers on their own journeys to wellness. Meer begins by advocating that people slow down and consider their options, suggesting meditation and diet changes as first steps before more invasive treatments. “Give up sugar. It is EVIL” is typical of her emphatic recommendations, which are largely based on her personal experience. Some of the advice seems fairly sound, like bouncing on a trampoline to promote lymphatic drainage. Other tips may raise eyebrows, at least for those who usually put their faith in allopathic medicine. Cleanses, a strict plant-focused diet, and a cocktail of supplements (which she confesses to spending $1,500 per month on during her illness) all have the potential to help “cure” cancer, according to the author. Though Meer did receive chemotherapy, she stopped before completing treatment and is frank about her negative experiences with Western medicine. There’s also practical information on coping with finances while sick, the best beauty products for cancer patients, and thoughts on dating after a diagnosis. The guide’s tone is friendly and often funny, and fellow cancer patients should appreciate Meer’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude and her counsel to advocate for themselves and choose treatments that work for them. But more information on how to integrate alternative and traditional medicine would have been helpful for those who wish to combine both approaches. And some readers will likely disagree with Meer’s “look on the bright side” attitude. Though she admits some may find the idea “disgustingly Pollyanna,” her belief is that “major illnesses…show up to heal your life.”

Heartfelt advice for cancer patients, though the embrace of out-of-the-box healing methods may have a limited appeal.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9985821-9-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2017

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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