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

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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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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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