An emotional, thought-provoking read about the fragility of relationships.

THE THIRD PERSON IN THE ROOM

STORIES OF RELATIONSHIPS AT A TURNING POINT

A divorce mediator shares her observations and insights on couples’ struggles in this debut memoir.

Larsen has a long history of helping couples navigate the tumultuous road of separation; she’s been an attorney for 50 years, and a professional mediator for half that time. This insightful collection of case studies portrays the many challenges that come with saying goodbye to a relationship. Along the way, Larsen describes the most common interpersonal dynamics that she witnessed in her mediating career, and discusses whether they helped the couple heal or perpetuated their bitterness and hostility. Communication, blame, trust, and forgiveness are just a few of the many topics that these narratives address, as each chapter offers a detailed, real-life example from Larsen’s mediation work. Some chapters expound on certain subjects, such as negotiations and expectations, and how they play roles in divorce proceedings. The subject matter isn’t always cheerful, but it does provide surprising moments of clarity and insight, which will encourage further reflection. It doesn’t gloss over the painful realities of loss and moving on with one’s life; there are examples of couples who held onto anger instead of letting it go, and of others who more quickly found middle ground. Larsen also compellingly shares her own experience of grief and healing after her husband’s passing: “as the first anniversary of his death approached, my steps slowed, my throat tightened, and my quiet times became more somber.” Overall, her writing style is intimate yet conversational, as if she’s taking readers into her private confidence. Although the book is largely serious in tone, it also includes refreshing moments of humor that help to occasionally lighten the narrative.

An emotional, thought-provoking read about the fragility of relationships.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73334-020-5

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Nolan Kerr Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

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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