A snappy, sensible guide to relationships.

HE DID YOU A FAVOR

A SMART GIRL'S GUIDE TO BREAKING UP, WAKING UP, AND DISCOVERING THE GIFT OF YOU

A script analyst and writing coach offers a debut guide to help women get over breakups and regain their self-confidence.

Rogers is very open about her own relationship struggles: Her ex-husband left her for another woman while she was pregnant. Her ability to get through what may be many women’s worst nightmare may make it easy for readers to trust her advice, and here, she dispenses it with a sassy sense of humor, focusing on building her readers up rather than lecturing them about past mistakes. The author strikes a balance between offering women no-nonsense rules to live by and helping them figure out their own personal requirements. She encourages women to figure out exactly what they want out of a relationship, while also emphasizing the importance of being open-minded. For example, in Chapter 6, “He Did You a Favor if You Were Dating the Wrong Type,” she notes, “Leave room for good, old-fashioned spontaneity and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Each chapter includes a variety of exercises ranging from a “Date Right for Your Type” nutrition workbook to a multiple-choice test to help readers identify what kind of princess they are. Many are clever, but some, such as the “Do-Yourself-A-Favor-Workbook,” which instructs readers to buy their own promise ring, feel more silly than empowering. The advice also sometimes lapses into cliché—there are a few too many references to drowning one’s sorrows in cookie dough and ice cream. Overall, most of her suggestions are more practical than groundbreaking, but for someone suffering under a cloud of heartbreak, even a straightforward solution can feel like a ray of sunlight.

A snappy, sensible guide to relationships.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0991063505

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Did You A Favor, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Tragedy as well as triumph in this meticulous, fascinating tale of three generations of Churchills.

CHURCHILL & SON

Churchill as family man.

In addition to being the subject of countless biographies, Churchill published hundreds of articles and more than 40 books of his own. In this detailed, engaging narrative, Ireland demonstrates that there is more to be learned about one of the most written-about political figures in history. Exploring the statesman’s relationship with his son, Randolph, the author begins with Churchill’s own famously unhappy childhood, chronicling his parents’ “almost comically detached method of care.” Churchill overcompensated for his father’s neglect by spoiling his son, a poorly behaved boy who became a profligate student and undisciplined adult. For all his gifts and achievements, Randolph led a chaotic life. In one two-week period in 1939, anxious for an heir lest he be killed in the war, he proposed to eight different women, all of whom turned him down. The ninth, Pamela Digby, accepted, and a year later, she became mother to his son, also named Winston. Shortly after, she was forced to rent out their home and take a job to pay down his gambling debts. On the positive side, Randolph was a gifted extempore speaker, effective journalist, and influential counselor to his father—and, later, his biographer. While recounting their relationship, Ireland draws unforgettable sketches of life in the Churchill circle, much like Erik Larson did in The Splendid and the Vile. For example, the family home at Chartwell required nearly 20 servants, as celebrities, politicians, and other “extraordinary people” came and went on a daily basis. Throughout, Ireland is generous with the bijou details: Churchill hated whistling and banned it. When dining alone, he would sometimes have a place set for his cat. His valet would select his clothes, “even pulling on his socks.” After retiring to Pratt’s club after Parliament ended its evening session, he would sometimes “take over the grill and cook the food himself.”

Tragedy as well as triumph in this meticulous, fascinating tale of three generations of Churchills.

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4445-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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