OUR TURN

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT WOMEN AND DIVORCE

A study of divorced older women that has important things to say to them—above all, that their lives may just be beginning anew after the long hiatuses of their marriages. Hayes (Director/National Center for Women and Retirement Research), Anderson (research coordinator of a recent study called ``Divorce After 40''), and freelance journalist Blau base their ``good news'' on the results of the Divorce After 40 study, which surveyed 342 women in their 40s and 50s who'd been married for approximately 20 years each. Eighty-two percent of the respondents found themselves stronger and more independent after divorce, and encouragingly high numbers reported better sex lives, enriched relationships with their children, a large and sturdy circle of female friends, little fear of loneliness, and a surprisingly low drive to go out and get married again. In analyzing the responses, the authors came up with four personality profiles: ``pausers,'' who essentially put themselves on hold during their marriages; ``slow movers,'' who had hints while married that they were missing something in life; ``rewinders,'' who were never happy as wives and leaped into new experiences after divorce, with sometimes problematic results; and ``players,'' who—ever in search of healthy independent selfhood—knew both before and after divorce how to take the good and build on it. The text is leavened with respondents' stories about how they learned to manage money, fight the emotional battle of letting go, and experiment with sex (sometimes for only the second time in their lives). The findings are limited to white, middle-class women, indicating that less-heartening news may await lower-class divorcÇes. And while there's plenty of sound advice for those who fit the demographics, the authors' cheery tone may fail to enthuse women in the throes of divorce. Still, their friends and caregivers will want to know about it, and the basic premise will be welcome to many.

Pub Date: May 3, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-74005-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.

HALLUCINATIONS

Acclaimed British neurologist Sacks (Neurology and Psychiatry/Columbia Univ.; The Mind’s Eye, 2010, etc.) delves into the many different sorts of hallucinations that can be generated by the human mind.

The author assembles a wide range of case studies in hallucinations—seeing, hearing or otherwise perceiving things that aren’t there—and the varying brain quirks and disorders that cause them in patients who are otherwise mentally healthy. In each case, he presents a fascinating condition and then expounds on the neurological causes at work, drawing from his own work as a neurologist, as well as other case studies, letters from patients and even historical records and literature. For example, he tells the story of an elderly blind woman who “saw” strange people and animals in her room, caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition in with the parts of the brain responsible for vision draw on memories instead of visual perceptions. In another chapter, Sacks recalls his own experimentation with drugs, describing his auditory hallucinations. He believed he heard his neighbors drop by for breakfast, and he cooked for them, “put their ham and eggs on a tray, walked into the living room—and found it completely empty.” He also tells of hallucinations in people who have undergone prolonged sensory deprivation and in those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, migraines, epilepsy and narcolepsy, among other conditions. Although this collection of disorders feels somewhat formulaic, it’s a formula that has served Sacks well in several previous books (especially his 1985 bestseller The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat), and it’s still effective—largely because Sacks never turns exploitative, instead sketching out each illness with compassion and thoughtful prose.

A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-95724-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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