A straightforward, helpful guide for families struggling with a child’s ability to make their own way.

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FAILURE TO LAUNCH

WHY YOUR TWENTYSOMETHING HASN'T GROWN UP...AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

A clinical psychologist analyzes the widespread problem of people “struggling with adolescent to adult transitions.”

The trajectory of most American teens is to finish high school, attend college or get a steady job, and launch into the world, standing on their own. However, as McConville (Adolescence: Psychotherapy and the Emergent Self, 1995, etc.)—who has a private practice and is a senior faculty member at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland—shows in this apt analysis, many young adults don’t follow this path and wind up back home with their parents, unable to hold a job, maintain a steady relationship, or thrive in a higher education program. The author points out that teens are more anxious and “worry more and risk less” now than in any previous generation, and he rightly suggests that parents must avoid the temptation to micromanage every decision in their child’s life. McConville uses numerous case studies to back up his primary argument that there are three key reasons why this “failure to launch” trend is happening: Young adults don’t know how to assume responsibility for themselves and their actions; they lack supportive relationships; and they can’t locate a sense of hope and purpose regarding their future. Once McConville breaks down these three elements, he provides readers with practical scenarios that demonstrate how others have worked through these situations to become more well-rounded and -adjusted young adults. The author believes parents need to look at their own parenting behaviors and begin treating their children as the adults they want to be by allowing them to have their own ideas, values, and priorities that are separate from the parents. McConville concludes with a section addressed to the “struggling transitioner,” which focuses on one main message: “If you want your parents to stay out of your business, you have to learn to manage your business in a way that doesn’t require them to get involved.”

A straightforward, helpful guide for families struggling with a child’s ability to make their own way.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-54218-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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

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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

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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

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