A thoughtful, faith-based read that provides engaging insights on attachment issues.

READ REVIEW

UPSIDE DOWN

UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTING ATTACHMENT IN ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

A candid self-help book about forming bonds with adopted children.

Guerra (Upside Down, 2014) uses a pragmatic, straightforward voice to address the challenges that stem from attachment issues with adopted kids. She’s an adoptive mother herself, and a key aspect of her approach—limiting kids’ interactions with outside adults—seems counterintuitive, she says, and it’s often not understood by those outside adoptive families. Due to past traumas, adopted kids often experience confusion about whom they can trust, the author says, and they often have difficulty attaching to their new parents. As a result, they can develop manipulative behaviors in an attempt to feel in control. Interactions with well-meaning adults can then lead to setbacks—troublesome behaviors that can last for weeks. The book illustrates its central concept with many examples from Guerra’s and other adoptive family members’ own lives. It also talks through the sometimes-trying realities of life in an adoptive family, contrasting them with “rose-tinted” fictional portrayals of the experience. The author establishes why limits are necessary, how to recognize and respond to difficult behaviors, how to deal with judgmental members of the larger community, and how others can help. The author’s many references to Christianity underscore how her faith has been an integral part of her parenting experience. The book might have benefited from early, precise definitions of what the author describes as “the entire spectrum ranging from general attachment issues to Reactive Attachment Disorder,” to assist the uninitiated. That said, she does helpfully include information on further resources and is adept at illustrating ideas with metaphors. For example, in the second chapter, Guerra uses the metaphor of a plaster cast, noting that “the broken child is set into their family for healing and protection,” and “their sharp edges must be treated with care.” Perhaps most importantly, this book reminds adoptive parents that it is acceptable, and even expected, to be imperfect and sometimes overwhelmed.

A thoughtful, faith-based read that provides engaging insights on attachment issues.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5962-4

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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