A mother and her children gain wisdom from a family health crisis.


A mother struggles to find a cure for her daughter’s unusual seizures—and the whole family benefits—in a debut memoir.

In third grade, Sette’s only daughter began to slip backward in her development, regressing in reading and communicating and losing the ability to buckle her seat belt. Diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy known as electro-status epilepticus sleep syndrome, or Landau-Kleffner syndrome, Nicolette had nighttime seizures that impaired her sleep, and the available medications didn’t work well for her. In this book, Sette describes her panicked odyssey into alternative treatments for her daughter, which over time helped her understand how the brain and the rest of the body work together. Nicolette finally began to improve when doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia allowed her to enroll in its ketogenic diet program. And after seeing the improvement in her daughter, Sette began to make healthy changes in her life, too, looking into neurofeedback, meditation, mindfulness, mantras, brain training games, and more. As a result, she and her daughter and sons, Zachary and Anthony, learned enduring lessons about the connections between the brain and body—involving diet, exercise, sleep, self-knowledge, and self-expression—that Sette describes in this book. Though Nicolette’s health problems are often the focus of the story, the author and her sons also stepped outside their comfort zones, as Zachary began a demanding pre-med program at Pennsylvania State University, Anthony had “terrible headaches” after a concussion, and both sons had to learn to help their sister. Sette’s suggestions are largely practical—though often New Age–y—and focused on basics such as healthy eating and finding a balance in life that allows for creativity, play, and humor. Along the way, the author found inspiration in sources ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Albert Einstein and from Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book The Secret (2006) to Norwegian physiology professor Ulrik Wisløff. But she distills what she learned into a simple message for anyone hoping to feel physically and mentally better: “To sum up, take inventory and start with small overall steps toward health; that will make it easier.”

A mother and her children gain wisdom from a family health crisis. (reader's guide, bibliography, author bio)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982230-51-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2020

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.


A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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