An upbeat, accessible account of one woman’s decision to make her body stronger and her life healthier.

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GETTING MY BOUNCE BACK

HOW I GOT FIT, HEALTHIER, AND HAPPIER (AND YOU CAN, TOO)

An autobiographical account of achieving physical fitness in middle age.

In her debut, freelance journalist and wellness blogger Walker recounts the unexpectedly severe blow it was to her self-image to approach a new job at the U.S. State Department in her mid-50s and find it to be too much for her physically. The failure to meet its increased physical demands was a blow to her confidence, and it motivated her to undertake the fitness journey that she chronicles in these pages. It likewise informs her upbeat tone; she assures her readers that it’s never too late to take control of their own wellness, as illustrated by entries in her daily journal about how she got into running and healthy living. She points out the importance of careful preliminary introspection: “We can’t accomplish anything until we (1) address and fix our issues, and (2) establish a meaningful fitness habit.” The bulk of her book documents, in ample autobiographical detail, how she addressed obstacles to her new fitness regime. These day-by-day bulletins and updates give Walker ample room to discuss how she developed her routines, and she relates these experiences with clarity and a friendly approachability. She intersperses these with practical advice that can sometimes be startlingly simple; for example, she writes that “You’ve got to listen to your body, because if you push, you’re setting yourself up for injury. But if you take off time, it’s hard to get back in it.” Many of the segments end with music playlists that Walker used to help her get through workouts—everything from Broadway show tunes (such as “What a Piece of Work Is Man” from Hair) to Bob Marley songs—and the narrative’s overall tone is likewise encouraging.

An upbeat, accessible account of one woman’s decision to make her body stronger and her life healthier.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63353-710-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Mango

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2018

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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