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. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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