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A thoughtful engagement with a topic that affects all parents.

An examination of the psychological attachment between parent and child from both personal and more detached points of view.

In her first book, Saltman, a Zen practitioner, writes about how she was prompted to look into the research surrounding attachment due to her own ambivalence about life with her young daughter, Azalea. Concerned that her experience with a chilly mother whom the author felt didn't adequately nurture her would prevent her from bonding with the baby, the author began to investigate what she could do to strengthen the mother-daughter bond and be a “warmer, more present, and more loving mom than mine had been.” Saltman’s search led her to the psychological study of attachment theory, including the experiment that gives the book its name. In the clinical research procedure called “Strange Situation,” a mother and baby are brought into a room; the mother leaves and is replaced by a stranger, and then the mother returns. The baby's reaction to the mother's return is used to gauge the attachment style between the two. Saltman grew so fascinated with this tool that she learned how to administer it herself and underwent its adult equivalent, discovering that in fact she was less damaged than she had assumed she was. As she pored over the scientific literature, she became intrigued by the biography of Mary Ainsworth, considered by many to be the mother of attachment theory. Throughout the narrative, the author weaves Ainsworth’s story into her own. As Saltman analyzed her personal history with the help of professionals, she began to understand her early life differently and to forgive and find a greater appreciation for her mother. While some might be concerned that the author accepts the tenets of attachment theory uncritically, she conveys them clearly, and her personal account is both honest and complex.

A thoughtful engagement with a topic that affects all parents.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-18144-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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