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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An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.

THIS TIME NEXT YEAR WE'LL BE LAUGHING

The bestselling author recalls her childhood and her family’s wartime experiences.

Readers of Winspear’s popular Maisie Dobbs mystery series appreciate the London investigator’s canny resourcefulness and underlying humanity as she solves her many cases. Yet Dobbs had to overcome plenty of hardships in her ascent from her working-class roots. Part of the appeal of Winspear’s Dobbs series are the descriptions of London and the English countryside, featuring vividly drawn particulars that feel like they were written with firsthand knowledge of that era. In her first book of nonfiction, the author sheds light on the inspiration for Dobbs and her stories as she reflects on her upbringing during the 1950s and ’60s. She focuses much attention on her parents’ lives and their struggles supporting a family, as they chose to live far removed from their London pasts. “My parents left the bombsites and memories of wartime London for an openness they found in the country and on the land,” writes Winspear. As she recounts, each of her parents often had to work multiple jobs, which inspired the author’s own initiative, a trait she would apply to the Dobbs character. Her parents recalled grueling wartime experiences as well as stories of the severe battlefield injuries that left her grandfather shell-shocked. “My mother’s history,” she writes, “became my history—probably because I was young when she began telling me….Looking back, her stories—of war, of abuse at the hands of the people to whom she and her sisters had been billeted when evacuated from London, of seeing the dead following a bombing—were probably too graphic for a child. But I liked listening to them.” Winspear also draws distinctive portraits of postwar England, altogether different from the U.S., where she has since settled, and her unsettling struggles within the rigid British class system.

An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64129-269-6

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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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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