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STANDING AT WATER'S EDGE

A CANCER NURSE, HER FOUR-YEAR-OLD SON AND THE SHIFTING TIDES OF LEUKEMIA

A multifaceted, thought-provoking, and learned exploration of a painful subject.

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A nurse specializing in cancer treatment shares her experiences after her son was diagnosed with leukemia in this debut memoir.

Post-White’s son, Brennan, was 4 years old when he became ill. The author began to worry after he started to experience leg and abdominal pains. After they visited a pediatrician, blood tests showed concerning abnormalities. As an oncology nurse, Post-White was aware of the grave significance of her son’s low hemoglobin count and braced herself for bad news. “I was a cancer nurse, researcher, and educator…but I had no training as a cancer mom,” remarks the author in her preface. Her memoir charts each step on Brennan’s road to recovery after his leukemia diagnosis, offering the dual perspectives of a highly trained nurse and a loving mother. Post-White’s writing poses probing questions asked by many whose lives have been touched by cancer, such as “Why Cancer? Why Now? Why Us?” She also explores her young son’s coping process by sharing pictures Brennan drew to express his feelings throughout his treatment. As a medical professional, the author takes a philosophical approach to surviving and facing fears, asking: “Can we ever be prepared for death? Or cancer?” Post-White’s writing is sharply analytical and grounded in actuality: “The reality is that one in ten childhood cancer survivors will have heart disease by the time they are forty.” But the delivery of stark facts is delicately counterbalanced with a profound excavation of personal emotions: “Darkness is a part of life, as it is a part of every rotation of the earth. But some nights felt blacker than others.” The result is a skillfully well-rounded memoir in which the author draws on her own experiences, charts Brennan’s medical and emotional progress, and alludes to the struggles of patients she has treated. While some readers may recognize that several cancer treatments have changed since the late 1990s, when Brennan was first diagnosed, Post-White’s account remains relevant, as contemporary protocols “include many of the same medications, schedules and ‘road maps.’ ” In a marketplace crowded with similar titles, the author’s informative work shares rich layers of a valuable perspective—delivering concise medical explanations, a nurse’s experience and compassion, and tender maternal understanding—making this book stand out from the rest.

A multifaceted, thought-provoking, and learned exploration of a painful subject. 

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4766-8710-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Toplight Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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