I WILL SING LIFE

VOICES FROM THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG CAMP

Reminiscent of Jill Krementz's affecting How It Feels to Fight For Your Life (1989), here's a collection of first-person accounts and poetry by campers at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Paul Newman for seriously ill kids. The poetry program that inspired this book was conducted at the camp two years ago by then-Yale students Berger and Lithwick. After the camp session, the two spent time with each of seven kids in the kids' homes, inviting them to talk about their experiences of life, camp, and being sick (the seven, ranging in age from ages 8 to 17, suffer from various cancers, sickle cell anemia, amputations, and AIDS). It's not surprising that the accounts are moving; what is surprising is the quality of some of the insights and poetry. The children's subjects are sometimes whimsical: ``hair, hair, everywhere''; throwing-up competitions with a friend in the next hospital room; a wonderfully inventive fantasy (``My Transfusion Family'') by Tina Kenney about getting transfused with the qualities of the 40 people who've given this young poet their blood. There are also, of course, many more serious poems. Kenney, a 17-year-old cancer patient, contributes the most consistently striking writing, including (in addition to ``My Transfusion Family'') a meditation on the lonely time in the hospital when visitors have gone home, TVs go off, and patients are alone with their thoughts; and a eulogy to three dead friends whose radiance pervades the writer's life as the stars illuminate the night sky. And there are many other young authors here who speak and write with words and perceptions beyond their years. A remarkable book that uplifts much more than it saddens. (Forty color photos—not seen—by Robert Benson illustrate the children's camp experience and family life.)

Pub Date: June 26, 1992

ISBN: 0-316-09273-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SECRET SEX LIVES

A YEAR ON THE FRINGES OF AMERICAN SEXUALITY

Investigative journalist Spencer expands her own sexual boundaries through the exploration of others’.

“Worn out from all the tragedy” of a decade penning true crime books, Spencer (Wages of Sin, 2010) engagingly steers readers through the wonderful world of contemporary sexuality. The pensive, unmarried Texan considers herself sexually ignorant, doesn’t particularly like to be touched (never has), and comes from a religious family who shunned the idea of crafting a memoir exploring the sex lives of random Americans. Surprisingly, the project transformed her from lonely, sexually timid 50-something into a woman budding with intimate possibilities. Posting a succession of inquisitive online personal ads probing responders’ bedroom activities, Spencer unleashes a battalion of sexed-up soldiers eager to interact and share prurient and often tabooed sex-drenched adventures. Among her profiles are a few hypersexual females, a flirtatious adulterer half her age, horny swingers looking for “more on the side,” a parade of randy bisexuals, phone-sex enthusiasts and a cross-dressing father of two. As Spencer exposes the flesh behind the fantasy, she incrementally reveals aspects of her own personal life, which frequently saves the text from dissolving into a blur of America’s hot and bothered. Eventually, the book becomes a psychological science project, as the author experimented, challenged her beliefs, and arrived at epiphanies far different from her opening declaration that “it’s a lot safer to laugh about sex than have sex.” Both a celebration of sexuality and, for the author, an embracive awakening to it. 

 

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-425-21936-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitiously original but uncorroborated theory.

PSYCHOCONDUCTION

A sweeping new theory that puts forward a way to rejuvenate a damaged brain without using surgical or pharmacological methods. 

Clinical psychologist Litvin (Litvin’s Code, 2011) proposes what he calls a bold “new neuropsychological discovery” about ways in which a chronically underperforming brain may be improved with carefully managed mental exercises. According to the author, the brain processes information via an internal mapping system, in which received data is directed to a “book of addresses.” When the brain malfunctions, he says, it’s largely the result of damaged complex brain cells receiving “incomplete or distorted requests,” which results in the improper distribution of information. However, he asserts that the brain has a kind of organic plasticity that allows it to respond to willfully enacted repairs. Litvin argues that simple cells in the body can be stimulated in a way that either rejuvenates or replace damaged complex cells; this stimulation can overcome what he calls “neuropsychological barriers” and result in the release of a newly “balanced amount of brain chemicals”—a vague formulation that typifies the author’s overall mode of discussion. This is achieved, he says, by activating the brain’s response to various stimuli in quick succession, including tactile, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and olfactory stimuli. Litvin calls this theory of repair “psychoconduction,” and he includes a detailed series of mental exercises that ask readers to translate simple mathematical equations into various modes of expression; for example, he shows how a visual pattern may be translated into a knocking sound, or a clamping of a hand. Litvin has discussed psychoconduction in a number of other works, but here, he furnishes his most thorough and systematic explanation of it, largely in accessible, nontechnical language. However, this volume also replicates the principal vices of the others: It’s remarkably general, and it doesn’t present any empirical, experimental evidence for its claims. Also, Litvin’s promises regarding the scope of its application are equally unsubstantiated, as well as implausible; he claims, for example, that the exercises can remedy dyslexia, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, anger issues, and even help people who have hallucinations. It’s never clear how it’s all possible, and the author offers no solid proof. 

An ambitiously original but uncorroborated theory. 

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4669-1254-0

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more