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

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RELATIONSHIP RESET

SECRETS FROM A COUPLES THERAPIST THAT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR LOVE FOR A LIFETIME

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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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