A well-researched, common-sense compendium on child-rearing.

YOU CAN'T F*CK UP YOUR KIDS

A JUDGMENT-FREE GUIDE TO STRESS-FREE PARENTING

A manual to help parents chill the f*ck out.

The title is at least partially tongue-in-cheek. Of course, you can screw up your children, but not due to all the minutiae you’re likely worrying about. Journalist, mother, and first-time author Powers, who was the founding editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting and currently runs the #NoShameParenting movement, lists five things that can absolutely scar your children, including neglect and skipping vaccinations. After getting those out of the way, she tackles many of the issues that keep parents up at night: Breast or bottle? Cry it out or co-sleeping? Stay-at-home parent or day care? While the author doesn’t claim to be an expert on childhood development, her years of meticulous research and experiences as a mother have made her a connoisseur of parenting styles. She’s heard the arguments and seen the data, and she’s here to tell you that a great deal of what parents fret about doesn’t really matter in the long run. If you need to let your kids watch another episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood so you can get dinner on the table, that’s not going to change the overall trajectory of their lives—and speaking of dinner, quit worrying about picky eaters. Powers often uses wry humor to drive home her points—e.g., regarding birth plans: “Doesn’t matter if you have an epidural or not, a C-section or not, or even if you swab vaginal bacteria all over your newborn." Beyond surveying some of today’s hot child care topics, the author also discusses common questions that surface after the baby arrives. How much sex are other couples really having after kids? Can parents truly have it all? While a majority of the narrative deals with specific themes, Powers issues a general reminder that we live in a “hyperconnected” age in which “parents’ worst fears and neuroses are manipulated by a promise of perfection that’s unreal and unattainable.”

A well-researched, common-sense compendium on child-rearing.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1013-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2020

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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