by Debbie Augenthaler ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2018
A potential source of comfort for those who’ve recently lost a loved one.
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This guide to grieving, based on debut author Augenthaler’s own experience of becoming a young widow, aims to give readers hope for their future.
The author’s 45-year-old husband, Jim, unexpectedly died in her arms of an aortic aneurysm, and her journey through grief inspired her to leave a career in the financial industry to become a psychotherapist. This guide is designed for readers who’ve lost loved ones, and it will particularly appeal to those who’ve lost a spouse. Augenthaler begins each chapter with an epigraph from a well-known poet, such as Rumi or Edna St. Vincent Millay, followed by a personal essay recounting a moment during her own grieving experience. She follows each memoir portion with an explanation of the healing process reflected in the anecdote. At one point, she tells of having unusual premonitions before Jim’s death, and she says that this is a common occurrence, especially in the case of sudden deaths. There are complete poems, including some by the author, interspersed throughout that also deal with mourning. An appendix for readers who want to help others includes essential advice on what to say to someone who’s just experienced loss, as well as how to offer assistance in a way that isn’t intrusive or inappropriate. Although grief-related memoirs are common, what sets this one apart is the inclusion of explanations for very specific aspects of the grieving process; for example, the author writes that it’s common to remember the moment that a loved one dies with crystal clarity, but also to forget many details from days or weeks immediately afterward. Some passages, such as an explanation of anxiety and panic attacks, lack citations, which would have been helpful for readers who might want to do further research.A potential source of comfort for those who’ve recently lost a loved one.
Pub Date: May 1, 2018
Page Count: 268
Publisher: Everystep Publications
Review Posted Online: May 28, 2019
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Robert Greene ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 13, 2012
Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...
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
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012
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by Cheryl Strayed ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2015
These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.
A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.
What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015
Page Count: 160
Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015
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