A remarkable, empathetic, and intense exploration of the nature of grief and guilt, featuring searing personal insights as...

I KNOW IT IN MY HEART

WALKING THROUGH GRIEF WITH A CHILD

A veteran clinical psychologist examines cancer and a child’s grief in this debut memoir.

When her firecracker sister Martha was diagnosed with breast cancer, Plouffe believed she had the tools to deal with whatever happened, including the interminable machinations of the insurance company, the roller coaster of recovery and relapse, and the demands of a large family scattered across three states. Martha and her doctors played the numbers game, but only one number mattered to this mother of a 3-year-old: “I need twenty years to raise Liamarie.” And when a treatment designed to extend Martha’s life inadvertently ended it, Plouffe was forced to inspect not only her own grief, but also that of the newly abandoned child. The author tells not only the story of “how we got through the horror” of Martha’s death in the years that followed, but also “how we got back,” detailing family members’ exhausting emotional journeys as they attempted to heal and move on with their lives while managing Liamarie’s mental health as she grew from toddler to teenager. As a psychologist dealing with trauma on a daily basis, Plouffe found herself reiterating the received wisdom that “grieving is a two-year process” only to discover the advice as lacking in the glut of platitudes that met her in the wake of Martha’s death. She came to realize that “grief is not a broken heart...grief is a fractured soul,” and her striking tale is one of reconciling her career experiences with the agonizing reality of personal loss, told in a manner that wisely avoids sentimentality and embraces the warts-and-all irrationality of mourning. Where a lesser writer might lean into the darling precocity of Liamarie and offer the child as a panacea to the suffering, Plouffe uses an almost clinical examination of the girl’s development as a springboard to reconsidering her own attitude toward the grieving process. What results is a bracing and accessible account of the conflict between emotion and intellect.

A remarkable, empathetic, and intense exploration of the nature of grief and guilt, featuring searing personal insights as well as cleareyed professionalism.

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-200-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

more