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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An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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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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