This tenderly rendered addition to the literature on hospice care deserves the widest possible audience.




A memoir that explores the tender mercies of hospice care.

In this intimate nonfiction account of her experiences as a hospice nurse, debut author McKissock tells bittersweet stories in which she and her patients are the central characters and her hard-earned wisdom about dying is the major theme. “In this country we think of dying primarily as a medical event. It’s much more than that,” she writes. The author supplies sufficient graphic detail to satisfy our fearful curiosity about the end-of-life symptoms referred to here as “actively dying.” She describes the specific pharmaceuticals that, we are told, can make dying as natural as “an uncomplicated birth.” Each chapter tells the story of a particular person—an internationally renowned ballet dancer, a wealthy art collector, a baby girl—whom she cared for during his or her final days. With an open-minded attitude toward the mysteries of life and death, the author has produced a memoir filled with surprises. The book celebrates hospice nurses, the best of whom act with kindness, efficiency and optimism, serving as calm “midwives” for the dying. As such, it restores luster to the somewhat tarnished reputation of the hospice industry, which began as a nonprofit movement but has since attracted big business and private equity investors seeking large profits. That financial story is not part of this personal narrative, which never lags as the experienced hospice nurse moves from one patient’s story to the next and reveals an inner life in which her own death is never far from her mind. It may be quibbling to point out that, in several instances, the author inadvertently repeats almost word for word a sentence she used elsewhere in the book, as when she describes a patient lifting a pinkie finger: “To a hospice nurse, that is like a big high-five.” The revelation that dying in hospice care can be an emotionally uplifting last chapter of life is one of many in the book.

This tenderly rendered addition to the literature on hospice care deserves the widest possible audience.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4675-3841

Page Count: -

Publisher: Gentle Wellness

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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