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HEALING WISDOM FOR PET LOSS

AN ANIMAL LOVER’S GUIDE TO GRIEF

A compassionate, practical, and useful series of approaches for dealing with pet loss.

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A debut guide focuses on healing after the loss of a beloved pet.

Despite the fact that tens of millions of Americans own at least one pet, the reaction of a great many people to the loss of a furry friend is one of dismissal: “It was only a dog” or “Just get another one.” In her book, Farage-Smith expresses gentle frustration with such condescension. “Our society needs to recognize and honor this type of loss,” she writes, “because it can be so devastating and it affects so many people.” The author—an educator, mental health counselor, and founder of the Rochester Center for Pet Grief and Loss—describes the myriad faces of this kind of loss and outlines strategies and mindsets that may help readers get through it. She goes over the long history of the human-pet bond, recounting the many documented physical and psychological benefits of the relationship. Then she moves to the bulk of her book and its strongest sections, in which she dissects different kinds of grief. They range from the “anticipatory” kind that can arise when people are caring for an older or terminally ill pet to the “ambiguous” or “disenfranchised” type, when, for instance, an owner is forced to part ways with an animal companion and must experience grief without death. The classic stages of that grief are likewise examined, and throughout the guide, Farage-Smith deftly employs the warm, compassionate prose tone that readers enduring this type of loss will most appreciate. Among other things, she strongly advocates journaling to work out the intense feelings involved, but she always positions herself as the audience’s biggest champion. “The process of forgiving yourself can begin by accepting what happened, learning and growing from the experience, and allowing yourself to move forward,” she writes. “Forgiveness is a choice.” Readers who have experienced the trauma of pet loss will deeply appreciate the valuable wisdom in these pages.

A compassionate, practical, and useful series of approaches for dealing with pet loss.

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781647426767

Page Count: 224

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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