Personal tragedy informs a valuable and meticulous guide to dealing with childhood sexual trauma.



A childhood sexual assault survivor shares her recovery experiences and extensive personal research into the topic in this manual.

When Somes was about 4 years old, her lone confidant was her imaginary friend Carey Jones, a nonphysical presence that always offered her understanding rather than judgment. Many years later, while in therapy with Alpern, or Jerry as she calls him, she revealed a frightening truth—just before turning 5, she was pursued and violently sodomized by a neighborhood boy on numerous occasions. Somes confronted the way this impacted her life, delved into why she never told anyone about this abuse, and started to understand why she created Carey to help her. She also began extensive research into the subject of childhood sexual abuse. The result is this succinct yet thorough compendium—written with Alpern—that supports and informs not just sexual abuse survivors, but also their caregivers, parents, and educators, backed up with stigma-busting statistics. Concepts like triggers and self-care, oft ridiculed even as they become more broadly known, are explained along with their roles in developing effective coping techniques, avoiding harmful ones, and finding the resulting trauma behind anxiety and depression, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, and addiction. Ways to spot abuse, handle revelations about it, and even discourage it by recognizing grooming behavior are also detailed, with an emphasis on frank communication between children and their parents or other sympathetic authority figures. The book approaches the topic of childhood sexual abuse in a straightforward, intellectual way, avoiding alarmist tropes or exploitative accounts. Much of the information here is presented as learned through Somes’ therapy, but facts and figures are still well cited. Her own experiences are intercut with other resources, from books like Marilyn Van Derbur’s Miss America by Day and Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score to guides from organizations such as Darkness to Light and the WINGS Foundation. The instruction presented here is practical, with the subjects including what a survivor should look for in a therapist and what questions to ask. The book also addresses the possible, often discouraging bumps in the road that may be encountered along the way. Somes’ personal experiences keep this advice from becoming too clinical. Numerous lists, with extensive appendices featuring further reading and useful outreach tools, make the manual easy to revisit.

Personal tragedy informs a valuable and meticulous guide to dealing with childhood sexual trauma.

Pub Date: May 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4808-8752-7

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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