An impassioned and analytic guide to taking control of faltering relationships before they fall apart.



A couples therapist offers a comprehensive guide to maintaining healthy, intimate relationships.

In her nonfiction debut, Elmquist acknowledges at the outset that the “stressors” working on any committed relationship are many, varied, and serious: “Financial obligations and work priorities, life responsibilities and accountabilities, and the daily needs of family and friends [are] all asking for your attention while you and your partner attempt to maintain individual and collective hopes and dreams.” At the heart of her advice is the concept of a “reset,” during which couples are urged to step back and look holistically at the changing nature of their relationship. Elmquist relates the familiar and worrying statistic that most troubled couples wait a very long time—the average is around six years—before seeking out professional therapy. She aims to drastically shorten that interval by equipping couples with the tools they need in order to detect and address problems as they arise. The key is something that Elmquist calls the “Six-Stage Change Cycle of Committed Couple Relationships,” which aims to help couples identify the various evolving stages of their relationship: “You and Me,” “We,” “I and I,” “The We/I Plateau,” “The D-Factor” (involving differentiating one’s personal identity), and “Us or Me.” The author effectively points out that these stages are fluid things, taking different forms with different partners, but she notes that they are nevertheless universal: “We all play each of these roles at one point or another in our relationships,” she writes. “To deny that is to deny we breathe.” Overall, the book’s near-total lack of platitudes and magic bullets is very refreshing. Through the use of ample case studies of her own clients to illustrate her points, Elmquist makes her step-by-step breakdowns immediately applicable to her readers. She also employs a uniform tone of enthusiastic encouragement throughout (“Getting started is the key. Momentum follows action!”), lightening her prescription of hard, detailed work that every committed relationship requires.

An impassioned and analytic guide to taking control of faltering relationships before they fall apart.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9974581-3-8

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Risk

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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