Sensitive and empathetic; offers excellent suggestions for coping with the harsh reality of caring for elderly parents.


In this guide, a music and creative arts therapist advises caregivers of aging parents.

A former director of a senior center, Conroy (One Man’s Music, 2008) shares personal insights into the challenges associated with caring for elderly loved ones. Much of this short book focuses on the inevitable emotional baggage that exists between adult child and aging parent, demonstrating that truly understanding the relationship one has with one’s mother or father is the basis for compassionate caregiving. Conroy draws from her professional experiences as well as the trying interactions she had with her own father, lending an intimate slant to this instructional manual. She suggests that the caregiver needs to identify “Three Truths” (“your parent’s basic personality type,” “your relationship to your parent,” and “what your parent needs to feel validated and whole”) to be most effective. The author’s well-constructed description of the four “dysfunctional” parent personality types is likely to resonate with caregivers. Her strategies for dealing with these personalities are simple yet dramatic in their impact. She learned, for example, that her “dad’s passion was talking about himself,” something that “did not interest me, but I was willing to be bored, in order to please him.” Conroy explains the ingenious way she leveraged this factor to construct a situation in which both she and her father could be entertained. Not surprisingly, some of the techniques the author uses revolve around music, and it is a delight to read how this universal language brings joy to senior center residents. One of the more intriguing observations the author makes is that “compassionate lies” are not only acceptable, but also necessary. In the case of her father, Conroy lied to him about where she was getting the money to pay for his home attendants so he would accept the care. “I hated lying to my father,” writes Conroy, “but I had no alternative….This lie injured no one....It insured my father’s safety, and saved my sanity.” Conroy’s descriptive text is augmented by cartoon illustrations by her husband, Larry.

Sensitive and empathetic; offers excellent suggestions for coping with the harsh reality of caring for elderly parents.

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-934912-77-5

Page Count: 85

Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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