A valuable manual for struggling caregivers.

READ REVIEW

TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE

A CAREGIVER'S GUIDE TO FINDING FREEDOM IN THE MIDST OF OVERWHELM

The founder of a self-help program for family caregivers shares insights into managing the interpersonal aspects of aiding a relative.

In this debut health book, Gelberg-Goff presents a companion to her Take Back Your Life support group, which advises family caregivers and provides strategies for managing the challenges of helping a loved one. Although an appendix details some of the logistical aspects of the role, the volume focuses primarily on the emotional aspects: balancing the caregiver’s needs with those of the patient, dealing with frustration in a productive way, and setting boundaries. Anecdotes based on anonymous stories from Gelberg-Goff’s clients—as well as her own as caretaker for multiple relatives—serve as case studies for the topics. Each chapter concludes with a series of questions to guide further discussion and action as well as links to additional resources on the author’s website (lorengelberggoff.com). The narrative voice is that of an unflappable and patient adviser, with the refrain “and we breathe” appearing many times throughout these pages. There are frequent reminders that caregivers should be aware of what they are and are not able to change: “Your decision is not written in stone. Each new decision brings you new direction, and each new reaction you feel or receive from others means you get to go back to Step 1 and process how you want to handle this new awareness.” Although the text is occasionally repetitive (Gelberg-Goff cites passages by Julia Cameron about anger eight times in one chapter), the conversational and confiding tone makes for an easy read, with plenty of actionable lessons for overstretched caregivers. The author provides sample scripts for difficult conversations and frameworks for establishing emotionally healthy thought patterns that readers can easily apply to their own situations. While caregivers will still need other resources for understanding the practical aspects of home health aides, long-term care insurance, and assisted living, this guide is a useful tool for learning to manage the less concrete but equally important emotional facets.

A valuable manual for struggling caregivers.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9994011-0-1

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Well Within

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more