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X-PLAN PARENTING

BECOME YOUR CHILD’S ALLY—A GUIDE TO RAISING STRONG KIDS IN A CHALLENGING WORLD

A valuable, devoutly Christian, and empathy-based concept of parenting in the digital era.

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The founder of a Christian nonprofit offers an innovative plan for circumventing the typical problems in parent-child communication.

Fulks draws on his nearly 30 years of experience working with kids in order to deploy a new vision of parenting. His plan was originally based on a simple concept: If children find themselves in a situation that gives them some concern, they can text the single letter X to a designated family member. That relative then follows an agreed-upon script of telling the kids that they’re needed back at home immediately. The children get a no-strings-attached escape plan for any sketchy situation, with the agreement that they can say as much or as little about the incident later as they want. The author views this strategy as the basis of a parenting view that navigates between overcontrolling and undercontrolling kids. “Ultimately,” he writes, “our kids need to know we’re in this together.” Featuring a clear design and engaging prose, with plenty of rich autobiographical details, the book elaborates on this idea of parenting. Unlike the simple stratagem, the guide puts a great deal of emphasis on the author’s Christian faith. “Understanding Jesus’s perilous mission for your own heart,” he writes, “is crucial to what kind of parent you will become.” Fulks is appealing and straightforward when discussing his version of the Christian promise as opposed to mere church attendance: “Jesus heals the broken. Religious posturing just does further damage.” But much of the parenting advice in these pages will be helpful to readers of any denomination. The author stresses that parents must live their lives right alongside their children. “If you’re not living some kind of adventure and inviting your kids up into that world of play,” he writes, “they will go off seeking it in other places.”

A valuable, devoutly Christian, and empathy-based concept of parenting in the digital era.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982112-01-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2020

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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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