An informative look at what it means to overcome addiction.

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NAKED IN PUBLIC

A MEMOIR OF RECOVERY FROM SEX ADDICTION AND OTHER TEMPORARY INSANITIES

One woman’s long journey out of sex addiction, among other struggles.

Debut author Sprout begins her story with her childhood, and in the first chapter, she abruptly states that her maternal grandfather was a pedophile. Although the author writes that she herself never fell victim to her grandfather’s abuse, she says that her formative years contained many other troubling influences, including alcoholism, religious fervor, and abusive comments from her own father. Later, while she was in college and ostensibly free from her parents, Sprout’s personal life was a whirlwind that included infidelity, binge-eating and -drinking, and a growing fascination with pornography. At the same time, she began to develop an interest in mental health issues, and she eventually received a master’s degree in social work. Following graduation, she was able to find work in her chosen field, but her adulthood eventually became just as complicated and troubling as her early college years. Sprout writes that she came to find herself at the mercy of a pushy therapist (who, she says, would form a bizarre attachment to the author’s sister); she also abused the spending power of credit cards and ended up in a long-term relationship with a jazz musician and self-proclaimed sex addict named Jason. His open identification as someone who was addicted to sex initially shocked her: “the second I heard the words ‘sex addict,’ I started getting overriding input from normally dark corridors inside my mind.” As time went by, though, she wound up applying the same label to herself. Some details of the author’s past aren’t graphically described in this memoir; for instance, readers are told of Sprout’s obsession with pornography, but it doesn’t reveal very much about the specifics of that obsession. Instead, the focus of this book is on the author’s recovery. The crux of the story involves Sprout’s attempts to obtain some level of normalcy in her life as she worked through 12-step programs, her financial difficulties, and the process of making peace with members of her family. It’s depicted as having been a long and difficult battle overall, although it wasn’t without its surprises, as well. The author finds moments of comic relief in New Age practices and incompatible mental health professionals; take, for instance, a member of a drum circle who says of a clothing-optional solstice celebration, “There’s drumming there, right? What could go wrong?” That said, the tone of the book is an earnest one, and the author’s point of view is honest and relatable. A curious reader who fears that he or she might be suffering from similar problems, or who knows someone else who is, couldn’t expect to find a more welcoming place to begin their investigation than this memoir. Throughout, the author is courageously frank about her own past as well as her family’s. In her story, readers will see that, even with the aid of sponsors and well-established protocols, recovery is not a simple or glamorous process.

An informative look at what it means to overcome addiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9962668-1-9

Page Count: 348

Publisher: Recontext Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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