An encouraging story of personal growth after a life-altering medical event.

IDENTITY THEFT

REDISCOVERING OURSELVES AFTER STROKE

Meyerson, a former Stanford University professor, looks at how the experience of a stroke affects one’s concept of identity.

On Labor Day weekend in 2010, while on a hiking trip with her family, Meyerson had a “weird” feeling in her right leg: “neither uncomfortable nor painful, not numb or asleep, just…not right.” It was the first sign that she was experiencing a stroke that reduced blood flow to her brain. It caused her to lose her ability to communicate her thoughts via speech or writing. She’d long studied how personal identity shapes one’s experiences; this book looks at how the traumatic experience of a stroke shapes identity. It also aims to offer hope to stroke survivors as they adjust to their new normal. Although the book is written in the first-person singular, the “I” refers to her writing team, made up of her credited co-author son Zuckerman, her husband, and others—which is “a good example of how life has changed” for the author. What sets this book apart from other, similar guides, though, is its focus on stroke survivors’ emotional journeys. People recovering from strokes are often asked to focus on their physical recoveries, and they often receive relatively little psychological support, the author notes. Her book clearly shows the benefits of focusing on the emotional side of the recovery process. Along the way, Meyerson walks readers through psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and quotes authors, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, who’ve written about post-traumatic growth and grief. She also assures readers that they, too, can build resilience as she has. The book presents stories of other stroke survivors, including a 13-year-old who suffered his event at football practice; a man whose stroke put him on a ventilator and who can now do four sets of 25 pushups; and a woman who fought to regain her long-term disability benefits. Overall, Meyerson has written an inspiring guide for anyone starting down their own road to recovery.

An encouraging story of personal growth after a life-altering medical event.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4494-9631-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

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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