Highly recommended for the divorced and for those contemplating or embarking on divorce.

TUNNEL VISION, A FOCUSED LIFE

Beauregard’s debut memoir recalls an almost unimaginably terrible divorce interwoven with hard-earned advice on how to overcome crushing adversity.

By her own harrowing account, Beauregard hardly sounds like a victim. Raised in an upper-middle-class Connecticut family, she’s privileged, moneyed, well-traveled, and disciplined by ballet, a young woman seemingly on her way to happiness when she wed a man of Italian descent with a strong sense of family, matching her own. Her husband, she writes, turned out to possess a violent temper. As the years passed, he became progressively more domineering, controlling, and physically abusive. She had bruises both physical and emotional to prove it when her divorce case reached the courtroom after her abortive attempt to run away with the children. But in what, in her telling, sounds like a criminal act, the judge awarded physical custody of her three sons and infant daughter to this better-lawyered, courtroom-clever monster; the judge even tacked on child support payments due from her to him. When she didn’t pay on time, she barely escaped jail. Her loss grew even greater when she voluntarily signed over her share of the former family house to her ex-husband in hopes it would at least stop him from taking the children out of the country. Left with nothing, this ravaged and lost mother-in-exile here describes how she gradually recovered herself and her motherhood by using a technique she calls tunnel vision to block out negativity, end the pity party, shelve the violin, and focus laserlike on positive energy flow within an imagined tunnel. The vivid originality of this philosophy, which turns the dictionary definition of tunnel vision on its ear, makes Beauregard’s book succor for all who have gone through the horrors of divorce, particularly with children involved. But her more generalized admonitions tend to be scattershot, thus losing force. Some of her advice—love yourself, don’t look back but do look for silver linings—has been heard many times before. It’s also disappointing that she ends this otherwise authentic, inspiring story of personal grit with the hackneyed phrase “Go for it!” As for the divorce, readers might be eager to hear from the other side to get more context for the terrible affair.

Highly recommended for the divorced and for those contemplating or embarking on divorce.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1939288936

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Beauregard Books

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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