This book should help readers who have experienced a childhood deprived of parental acceptance break their approval-seeking...




An author offers a theory springing from her study of her psychologically neglected childhood and its lifetime of consequences.

The term “enmeshment” is used to describe a dysfunctional relationship with permeable and unclear boundaries that may lead to a damaging lack of autonomy. This is exactly what Vogels (A Guided Journal to a Healthy Sense of Self, 2014, etc.) experienced as a child with a mother who withheld love and only granted approval with self-centered conditions. As the author grew, she began to realize this and how it contributed to her extreme anxiety and stress. She spent so much of her life, including her adult years, chasing potential parental approval that she never developed her own sense of self-worth. After studying herself for years, she has now composed her conclusions in this book as “The Sense of Self Theory & Method,” intended particularly for those who suffered similar circumstances. Early on, she emphasizes the crucial role of the primary caregiver (“A Sense of Self is something that either develops or does not. That process depends mainly on the nature of the input from the primary caregiver….The people who are with the child from birth on are the ones who make the greatest impression on the individual”). Though not a licensed psychologist, the author certainly thinks and writes like one, and this volume is replete with definitions of terms and supporting examples. Vogels’ “Sense of Self Theory” is incredibly well-articulated with insights that should resonate with those who endured difficult childhoods that led to thorny adult paths. The author also encourages new parents to center their children in their lives with an atmosphere of unconditional love. Unfortunately, the remainder of the work, namely the effects of lacking a sense of self and Vogels’ recovery suggestions, loses some of the magic from the first section and includes some redundancies. Furthermore, it is likely that only those readers who fit the same mold as the author will find these parts especially useful. That said, Vogels’ organization of the manual and her meticulous assessments are superb. Though her theory may still need perfecting, the concepts she writes about are vital and should be seriously explored in the world of psychology and human development.

This book should help readers who have experienced a childhood deprived of parental acceptance break their approval-seeking habits and discover who they truly are.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9887226-2-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Healthy Sense of Self Publications

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2017

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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