UNTANGLED

GUIDING TEENAGE GIRLS THROUGH THE SEVEN TRANSITIONS INTO ADULTHOOD

Expert information and counsel on helping parents raise well-rounded girls.

The director of the Laurel School's Center for Research on Girls offers parents concrete advice on how to help their teenage daughters navigate the often tumultuous teenage years.

Using examples from her own practice, psychotherapist Damour outlines seven different paths that girls must negotiate between pre-puberty and independence. "There is a predictable pattern to teenage development, a blueprint for how girls grow,” writes the author. “When you understand what makes your daughter tick, she suddenly makes a lot more sense. When you have a map of adolescent development, it’s a lot easier to guide your daughter toward becoming the grounded young woman you want her to be.” For parents who wonder why their delightful little girl has been replaced by an often belligerent, eye-rolling, disrespectful semiadult, Damour's advice will be a great help. The author identifies how girls slide in and out of childhood as they test boundaries, how hanging out with peers can create conflict as well as a much-needed new tribe, and the benefits and problems surrounding social media, including the impact of bullying. Damour discusses romance and sex and the need to talk about the ability to say no, not only to sex, but to alcohol and drugs as well. She gives parents methods to broach these difficult topics in a firm and understanding manner. She also addresses food and weight issues, mood disorders, and anxiety over test results and school performance. By giving girls a bit of privacy while still maintaining house rules, such as attending church or eating together as a family, parents respect that their daughter is shifting away from a dependent child toward becoming an independent being. Using Damour's guidance, these transitional years will be far less fraught with angst and parents will be able to create stronger bonds with their daughters.

Expert information and counsel on helping parents raise well-rounded girls.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-39305-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

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. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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

Close Quickview