A touching memoir that allows readers to experience the everyday life of a widow attempting to move on.

Left Behind To Pick Up The Remote

A woman struggles to find freedom, independence, and inner peace following the sudden death of her husband in this memoir.

After her longtime husband Brad’s unexpected death, Booth (Yellow Bird Walking, 2009) decided to reinvent her life. Although she struggled to overcome her grief, she eventually traveled, joined a dating site, and made new friends. She writes that she’s sharing her story because she wants to help other widows regain confidence and find happiness, but it seems as if she also wanted to write this book in order to help her own healing process. She tells of playing “pranks” on her husband by leaving a plastic spider around the house, and how he would tuck “the covers in all around me like a mummy” during their “nightly routine,” which are sweet tributes to their marriage. Unfortunately, platitudes such as “laughing really is the best medicine” take away from the narrative’s emotional power. The book’s episodic nature also gives the story a directionless feeling; for example, in one chapter, she recounts the saga of trying to get spousal benefits from the veterans administration, but the next chapter revolves around her seeing a spiritual adviser. To her credit, she has a knack for surprising readers; at one point, for example, she gets a tattoo commemorating her husband, and she states the painful reality that “In a 14 month period, I had lost my husband, my job, and my father.” Ultimately, the story of an older woman exploring her individuality after 44 years of marriage is a refreshing one, and it’s satisfying to see Booth attain a sense of freedom as she moves into her own apartment for the first time. Though it “was very difficult to accept,” she says, she realized that she couldn’t “continue to define [herself] as part of a couple,” except in her heart.

A touching memoir that allows readers to experience the everyday life of a widow attempting to move on.

Pub Date: March 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5043-5358-8

Page Count: 136

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2016

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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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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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