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THE BEATLES, BABIES AND BROKEN BODIES

MY MEMOIR NAVIGATING CANADA'S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

A passionate account about medical care written with dexterity throughout.

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In this memoir, a retired physician shares four decades of joys and agonies as a practitioner and consumer of Canadian health care.

In 1978, Zehr was a nurse at a hospital in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories region, which served all the Inuit and Dene Indigenous settlements in the area. During a frantic case when she assisted in saving the life of a 6-month-old baby, she recognized an intense desire to pursue a career as a doctor. Even as a child growing up as the eldest of three in Ontario, the author, an enthusiastic learner, knew she wanted to be in a “helping profession” in a “clinical and hands-on” industry. She fondly recalls her mother alleviating her stressful younger years with long walks and talks as well as instilling in her an early appreciation for music, particularly an enduring love for Paul McCartney and the Beatles, a passion that would last a lifetime. Zehr’s career track involved years of registered nurse training in the 1970s, which she generously shares in chapters filled with anecdotal episodes featuring a panoply of pediatric patients, alternating between sad and complex and cheerful and gratifying cases. These vivid stories—and the accompanying family photographs of life on northern Canada’s Arctic tundra—drive home the critical importance of the nursing profession and demonstrate the mettle necessary to succeed as well as the rewarding nature of work in medicine. Medical school would test her resilience and patience as she went on to become an OB-GYN, including performing part of her residency at a controversial abortion clinic. Zehr is candid about physician burnout and how some doctors never notice the negative changes occurring in their own bodies due to mental stress and sheer exhaustion. The well-written memoir’s concluding chapters concern the author not as a medical professional but as a patient and health care consumer, forced to personally wrestle with the system’s inadequacies and frustrations. This segment is as real as it gets and unpacks a great amount of disillusionment and exasperation with an industry Zehr had enjoyed a bittersweet relationship with. Readers interested in knowing how health care operates outside of America will be fascinated by the author’s opinions and ordeals.

A passionate account about medical care written with dexterity throughout.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2022

ISBN: 9781039143876

Page Count: 265

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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