A concise but thorough handbook on caregiving.

Business Woman's Guide to Caregiving

A KIT OF TOOLS FOR THE HEART

An elder care professional draws on business principles to help women with aging parents.

In this health-and-family book, Bookner (Something about Christmas, 2011) uses her experiences running a home health assistance company and acting as the primary caregiver for an aging mother to provide basic guidance to women in similar situations. She includes some specific advice: use a shredder when disposing of documents, and if an object is moved, leave notes reminding the parent of its new location. However, its primary focus is on establishing mindsets for both caregiver and parent that allow them to enjoy a strong relationship while also managing the challenges surrounding the parent’s health and safety. Bookner uses business practices as analogies for understanding the dynamics of the parent-caregiver relationship, as when she treats caregiving as a form of customer service: “Business owners are always looking for new ways to coddle customers and increase their client base. As a caregiver, the same needs apply.” The book encourages caregivers to view parents as partners, collaborating to ensure that parents’ needs are met. Caregivers, Bookner says, can offer choices and ask questions to reach solutions that will allow everyone to be satisfied. Some analogies are less obvious, such as comparing the completion of a parent’s legal documents to preparation for a major meeting, but they’re effective in helping to establish a framework for a successful caregiving arrangement. Readers who don’t share Bookner’s Southern roots may find the idea of a parent’s nostalgia for white gloves at church or addressing a parent as “ma'am” or “sir” less applicable to their own families. However, the book’s broader recommendations are more generally applicable and can help readers turn a potentially burdensome responsibility into an opportunity for strengthening relationships and personal growth.

A concise but thorough handbook on caregiving.

Pub Date: June 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4908-3991-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2015

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A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after...

HOW NOT TO HATE YOUR HUSBAND AFTER KIDS

Self-help advice and personal reflections on avoiding spousal fights while raising children.

Before her daughter was born, bestselling author Dunn (Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask, 2009, etc.) enjoyed steady work and a happy marriage. However, once she became a mother, there never seemed to be enough time, sleep, and especially help from her husband. Little irritations became monumental obstacles between them, which led to major battles. Consequently, they turned to expensive couples' therapy to help them regain some peace in life. In a combination of memoir and advice that can be found in most couples' therapy self-help books, Dunn provides an inside look at her own vexing issues and the solutions she and her husband used to prevent them from appearing in divorce court. They struggled with age-old battles fought between men and women—e.g., frequency of sex, who does more housework, who should get up with the child in the middle of the night, why women need to have a clean house, why men need more alone time, and many more. What Dunn learned via therapy, talks with other parents, and research was that there is no perfect solution to the many dynamics that surface once couples become parents. But by using time-tested techniques, she and her husband learned to listen, show empathy, and adjust so that their former status as a happy couple could safely and peacefully morph into a happy family. Readers familiar with Dunn's honest and humorous writing will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at her own semi-messy family life, and those who need guidance through the rough spots can glean advice while being entertained—all without spending lots of money on couples’ therapy.

A highly readable account of how solid research and personal testing of self-help techniques saved a couple's marriage after the birth of their child.

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-26710-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A miscellany of paternal pride (and frustration) darkened by the author’s increasing realizations of his mortality.

DAD'S MAYBE BOOK

Ruminations and reminiscences of an author—now in his 70s—about fatherhood, writing, and death.

O’Brien (July, July, 2002, etc.), who achieved considerable literary fame with both Going After Cacciato (1978) and The Things They Carried (1990), returns with an eclectic assembly of pieces that grow increasingly valedictory as the idea of mortality creeps in. (The title comes from the author’s uncertainty about his ability to assemble these pieces in a single volume.) He begins and ends with a letter: The initial one is to his first son (from 2003); the terminal one, to his two sons, both of whom are now teens (the present). Throughout the book, there are a number of recurring sections: “Home School” (lessons for his sons to accomplish), “The Magic Show” (about his long interest in magic), and “Pride” (about his feelings for his sons’ accomplishments). O’Brien also writes often about his own father. One literary figure emerges as almost a member of the family: Ernest Hemingway. The author loves Hemingway’s work (except when he doesn’t) and often gives his sons some of Papa’s most celebrated stories to read and think and write about. Near the end is a kind of stand-alone essay about Hemingway’s writings about war and death, which O’Brien realizes is Hemingway’s real subject. Other celebrated literary figures pop up in the text, including Elizabeth Bishop, Andrew Marvell, George Orwell, and Flannery O’Connor. Although O’Brien’s strong anti-war feelings are prominent throughout, his principal interest is fatherhood—specifically, at becoming a father later in his life and realizing that he will miss so much of his sons’ lives. He includes touching and amusing stories about his toddler sons, about the sadness he felt when his older son became a teen and began to distance himself, and about his anguish when his sons failed at something.

A miscellany of paternal pride (and frustration) darkened by the author’s increasing realizations of his mortality.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-618-03970-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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