Roffman’s cleareyed text and non-clinical delivery makes the slippery slope of sex education less daunting.

READ REVIEW

TALK TO ME FIRST

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BECOME YOUR KIDS' "GO TO" PERSON ABOUT SEX

An informative, helpful guide for parents contemplating how to talk to their children about the birds and the bees.

Parents are often plagued by the prospect of appearing indecisive and tongue-tied to their kids in those moments of truth, writes Roffman (But How'd I Get in There in the First Place? Talking to Your Young Child About Sex, 2002, etc.), a scholastic sex educator and mother of two who began brainstorming for this book after Janet Jackson’s overhyped Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction.” She offers relief by counseling parents on sensitive matters of timing and the dissemination of facts. Unfortunately, she writes, American schools are typically years late in providing even basic sexual knowledge to age-appropriate children. Roffman discusses a laundry list of commonly used statements about sex and doesn’t shy away from more sensitive material such as abstinence, gay and transgendered kids, sexually transmitted infections and rape. Throughout, she emphasizes the importance of positive, direct interaction with children. Her “five piece suit” approach stresses the significance of nurturing and parental roles in recognizing core needs like values, boundaries and guidance. Stories, analogies, scenarios and case studies bolster Roffman’s case, as does some good-natured humor. While it may be uncomfortable for parents to consider their children as “sexual people,” a chapter near the book’s midpoint serves as a primer course on human biology, development, reasoning, acceptance and the importance of honest communication at every stage of a child’s life. In utilizing this important guide, parents can reclaim the sexual education of their children instead of surrendering it to the influence of misguided media advertisers.

Roffman’s cleareyed text and non-clinical delivery makes the slippery slope of sex education less daunting.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7382-1508-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more