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An experienced author shares how to use prose to gain a better understanding of oneself in a book that’s part self-help tome, part writing manual.

Throughout her life, Raab (Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, 2011, etc.) turned to writing to cope with trauma. Now, she combines her knowledge of that art with her study of the mind (the author has a Ph.D. in psychology) in a book that aims to help people use words to find joy and healing. Lessons and accompanying writing prompts are designed to “inspire and teach you to learn more about yourself, tap into your emotional truth, find your authentic voice, and write about your own losses, challenges, and joys.” The process begins with tips on creating a sacred space for writing, a discussion of the mind-body connection, and an overview of meditation techniques. Then Raab moves on to advice on finding one’s voice, deciding which life stories to tell, and developing a journaling habit. (The author advocates pen-and-paper journals but asserts that “writing on a computer is better than not writing at all.”) Throughout, Raab includes anecdotes from her life, including how memoir writing helped her come to terms with her grandmother’s suicide. Most of the book is focused on working in that popular genre. The author dedicates one chapter to verse, in which she disdains formalism in favor of a confessional style that produces “more accessible poems in which there is resonance between the reader and writer.” Fiction gets short shrift, with just a few pages tacked on to the end of one chapter. She deftly tackles the tricky issue of preparing a book for publication, particularly how to communicate with family members who might be subjects of the work. Throughout, the emphasis is on writing as part of a larger process of healing or discovery. Readers looking for advice on plotting or character development won’t find much here. But for those who hope to use writing as a way to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, Raab offers a uniquely helpful approach. A worthy, practical guide for the aspiring memoirist.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61599-323-9

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Loving Healing Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2017



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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