A brave, soul-searching firsthand account of the risks and rewards of caregiving.



A businesswoman chronicles the challenges of balancing work, family, and caregiving responsibilities in her debut memoir.

After her father’s death in 2012, learning and development consultant Persiani found writing to be a calming, centering salve amid her sorrow. With emotional clarity and honesty, she recalls the time when her father’s need for round-the-clock care redirected the course of her life. Her family responsibilities mounted after she and husband, Tony, had a daughter, Summer, and relocated to a town farther west, in central Massachusetts, where they raised her while sharing caregiving duties for the author’s parents. A mix of uncertainty, guilt, devotion, and panic often boiled over as the author struggled to maintain control of the many aspects of her frenetic family and work life, particularly after her mother died and her father tried live on his own in the home that the couple had shared. Persiani and her siblings coordinated matters as his health deteriorated, but the whirlwind of doctors and decisions took its toll. In this book childhood memories combine with family histories to create a moving tapestry of a loving family fiercely dedicated to the well-being of a member, even when things are seemingly at their worst. Persiani realized she’d become part of the “sandwich generation,” which comprises adults who juggle childrearing and parental caregiving—a daunting balancing act that she warns is not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, she embraced the multifaceted role of “card-carrying member of the Superwoman Club” too literally and faced “anemia, chronic stress, and fatigue.” The author translates what she learned during that scattered period into sage advice and guidance for readers facing a similar scenario. “We know that hands-on care is messy,” she admits, “and reveals not only our loved ones’ humanity but ours as well.” Persiani’s Lutheran faith was a source of strength that helped her meet her many responsibilities, especially during the more emotionally demanding times. Readers navigating a similar “onslaught of family responsibility” may feel less alone after reading this book—and have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

A brave, soul-searching firsthand account of the risks and rewards of caregiving.

Pub Date: April 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7333990-5-0

Page Count: 297

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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