This inspiring account of caring for a loved one with a brain injury will help guide anyone in a similar situation.

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BRAIN STORM

A JOURNEY OF FAITH THROUGH BRAIN INJURY

One couple’s tale of struggle and ultimate triumph over a debilitating brain injury as relayed by both patient and caregiver.

The journal-style writing delivers a deeply personal account of Laura and Bruce Allen’s difficult journey as they learned that Bruce had two lesions in his brain, a life-threatening condition requiring immediate surgery. Both religious leaders in their Southern community, the patient and caregiver never lost faith. Though the surgery to drain the abscess was a success, it was only the first step in a process of healing and learning to do the most basic actions. Bruce had to learn to walk, talk and manage mundane tasks all over again, while Laura learned to be patient and supportive. Laura describes their life after the diagnosis as the “new normal,” and comes to terms with that fact that Bruce may never return to his pre-brain-injury self. “When the person can accept these changes and make use of adaptations where needed, he will find he can enjoy life—perhaps even more than before….” Each chapter opens with an email that caregiver Laura sent to close friends and family, relaying Bruce’s condition and detailing his slow return to health. Laura matter-of-factly shares the timeline and details surrounding the monthslong process of Bruce’s hospital and rehabilitative stays and the small but triumphant steps he makes toward recovery. Passages describing the same events, but written in Bruce’s voice, provide the unique vantage point of the patient. The support network of family and friends, including a daughter who is a nurse at the Shepherd Center where Bruce does his inpatient and outpatient rehab, help the couple make it through the toughest event of their lives. The book provides tangible advice and resources for patients and caregivers to maintain their strength of spirit and body.

This inspiring account of caring for a loved one with a brain injury will help guide anyone in a similar situation.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1449737719

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2012

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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