An absorbing and frank book that chronicles the author’s triumph over health and personal crises.

WARRIOR BRAVE PROTECTOR

A debut memoir details the struggles of a wife with ulcerative colitis and infertility.

When Mills H. and her husband, Rob, adopted their Yorkshire terrier puppy, they named him Riley, to fit with the breeder’s preference and to allude to the expression “life of Riley.” The fact Riley also meant “brave” was a happy coincidence. Just a year earlier, the couple had lost their son, Chad, who was stillborn after his mother’s struggle with ulcerative colitis during pregnancy. Determined to have another child—the daughter both the author and her mother-in-law had strong premonitions Mills H. was destined to deliver—the couple tried intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization. Eventually, when Mills H.’s half sister, Michelle, volunteered to be a surrogate carrier, the author leapt at the chance. Finally, she achieved her lifelong dream of motherhood when her daughter, Skylar, was born. Chad’s name means “Warrior” while Skylar means “Protector”—hence, the work’s title. While the memoir primarily focuses on the author’s infertility, her ailments—which contributed significantly to her child-bearing issues—also figure prominently. Additional autobiographical information provides relevant content for her story. All her life, Mills H. looked forward to becoming a homemaker and mother, and she highlights the women in her life who were fortunate enough to have that role. After a false start with a first husband she had to support, the author met and married Rob, a private pilot to celebrities. Of the few secondary characters in the book, Rob remains the most shadowy and one-dimensional, little more than the often traveling spouse. Mills H.’s mother and mother-in-law, and later her half sister, provide the emotional support and care she needs during her trials and are more developed characters. The compelling account does not break new ground in the realm of fertility challenges, but Mills H. is a deeply sympathetic character, although not all readers will identify with her aspiration to be a homemaker. Further, her brushes with celebrity (Thanksgiving and a trip to Greece with Kevin Costner) and her luxurious, golf club community home make her less relatable. Despite her seemingly lavish lifestyle, her medical and fertility problems emphasize her vulnerability.

An absorbing and frank book that chronicles the author’s triumph over health and personal crises.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5353-8112-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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Despite Meyer's unusual perspective, this journal contains memorable passages of joy and sorrow for parents and children of...

NO PALTRY THING

MEMOIRS OF A GEEZER DAD

A 70-something reflects on becoming the father of his sixth child at age 59.

Meyer fathered three sons during the Vietnam War era while married to his first wife. A journalism professor at California State University-Long Beach, he entered a second marriage to a student 27 years his junior, fathering two daughters and a son. After much agonizing about balancing career and family, Meyer took early retirement from his teaching to become a parent and a home-based freelance writer. Before his retirement, the first batch of his diary-like entries became a book, 1989's My Summer With Molly: The Journal of a Second Generation Father. After retirement, he became a regular journal-writer, musing about parenting and dozens of related threads. Just as Molly dominated the first collection of entries, son Franz dominates the second collection. At turns doctrinaire, old fuddy-duddy, self-deprecating, melancholy, humorous, even hip, Meyer is a thoughtful guide through daily life. The seemingly oblique title becomes clear in the context of the W.B. Yeats' quotation from which it is derived: "An aged man is but a paltry thing / A tattered coat upon a stick unless / Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress..." Meyer sounds ageist at times, but throughout, he is determined to fight his own aging and to serve as a good husband and father. Eschewing sentimentality much of the time, Meyer can't help occasionally lapsing into teary-eyed territory. He concludes that "geezer fatherdom" is worth the costs, that "in the end, there is only love, active and remembered, to warm the chill of a cooling universe."

Despite Meyer's unusual perspective, this journal contains memorable passages of joy and sorrow for parents and children of all ages.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-942273-05-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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A generally clear-minded, empowering book by a sympathetic professional who might well cause readers to wish he were their...

HELPING YOUR CHILD BE WELL

A PEDIATRICIAN'S 101 TRUE STORIES AND VIGNETTES ABOUT CHILDHOOD DISEASES, PREVENTION, HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS

A physician shares anecdotes—some sentimental, some dry-eyed—about his youthful patients and their parents.

Rao, trained as a physician in both India and the U.S., settled 26 years ago in Porterville, Calif., where in addition to treating patients, he writes a medical advice column for the local newspaper—many of the brief chapters in the book appeared previously in the Porterville Recorder as columns. Arranged more or less by topic, the chapters cut across a wide swath of medical practice: the stages of child development, the freedom needed to grow up healthy, preventive medicine, curing illnesses when prevention has failed, good nutrition practices, the impacts of drugs on patients, the conundrums of heredity, medical wonders, the evolution of medical practice, the role of curiosity in medical treatment, medical detective work, curing patients facing daunting odds, the importance of family support, and the role of prayer. Rao's first-person narration addresses parents in a chatty, reassuring manner. He eschews alarmism in favor of optimism, setting parents at ease about rearing children who are healthy emotionally, physically and spiritually. He is sincere when he advocates laughter as a potent medicine, noting that an effective doctor not only laughs with his patients, but listens well, exudes compassion, expresses empathy and is highly trained in his field. At times, he seems overly rosy in his outlook, as when he suggests that state medical boards assist parents in determining a specific physician's complaint record—many state medical boards refuse to discuss complaints against physicians with patients. Such questionable advice is rare, however, as Rao presents positive and helpful advice for healthy parenting.

A generally clear-minded, empowering book by a sympathetic professional who might well cause readers to wish he were their family doctor.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0-9749761-0-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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