Practical solutions backed by solid research that will help many girls overcome their high levels of stress and anxiety.

UNDER PRESSURE

CONFRONTING THE EPIDEMIC OF STRESS AND ANXIETY IN GIRLS

New insight into the old issue of teen girls suffering stress and anxiety.

Adolescent girls have always struggled with anxiety, but it’s even more of an issue now with the rise of social media, cyberbullying, and the cutthroat competition to get into elite universities across the country. Damour (Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood, 2016), an adolescence columnist for the New York Times and director of the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, re-examines this problem through real-case scenarios taken from her private practice as a clinical psychologist and her work at her all-girls school. The author helps readers identify key areas where girls may be feeling pressure: home, school, in their relationships with their peers and with boys, and with the culture at large. In readily accessible and easily assimilated prose, Damour first explains how some stress and anxiety is actually good for a girl, as it pushes her out of her comfort zone, forcing her to stretch and reach beyond her safety level to new stages of development. It’s when this stress becomes overwhelming that it becomes a problem, and here the author jumps into the many arenas where this is an issue. She discusses the difference between healthy competition and aggressive behavior in school academics, how most girls need more sleep, and how they can protect themselves and each other from sexual harassment. She explains how to build downtime into a hectic schedule so that when things go awry, as they inevitably do, it doesn’t lead to a serious mental and emotional collapse. She also makes many other common-sense suggestions to help parents help their daughters in these highly competitive times. Although few of these issues are new, Damour’s instructive book pulls them into the limelight yet again, where they can be addressed by a new generation of parents and girls.

Practical solutions backed by solid research that will help many girls overcome their high levels of stress and anxiety.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-18005-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more