Expressive exercises that provide an array of motivational pointers.




The 26 characters of the English language serve as springboards for life advice and reflection in this debut self-help guide.

In a brief introduction, Hayman sets forth this collection’s mission: “Each letter of the alphabet has words of wisdom to share, assembled in diverse writing styles designed to give you, the reader, a morale boost and an extra dose of motivation to take steps toward improving your quality of life.” The contemplations that follow have headings ranging from “Awareness” to “To Zenith and Beyond,” with essays, poetry and what the author terms “visual guided imagery” to offer insights into a more mindful, fulfilling existence. Sometimes a letter stands for a key word within the title; “Coming Home,” for example, stands for “H” in this alphabetically organized book, with a four-paragraph essay on remaining grounded. Some letters merit repeating, with “O,” for example, inspiring two entries: “Overcoming Obstacles,” offering the advice to “[s]earch deep within yourself to find those abilities that will serve you well in the future,” and “Obligation means Commitment,” a two-and-a-half page musing that concludes, “To be kind to others is not a choice, it’s a must.” Although Hayman refers to “clients” in this collection, her background as a licensed clinical social worker isn’t fully revealed in the text. It’s unfortunate that Hayman doesn’t bring more of her professional experience into her book; as a result, the content comes off as rather generic at times. More specifics on how her ideas have helped actual clients would have lent this collection more punch. Nevertheless, Hayman has created a charming “concept album” of a book that offers gentle, encouraging prompts for a proactive approach to self-improvement.

Expressive exercises that provide an array of motivational pointers.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692027622

Page Count: 78

Publisher: R. R. Hayman

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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