A lucid and compassionate memoir.



A British mental health practitioner and media personality’s absorbing account of the years she spent as a clinical psychologist-in-training.

In 1989, Byron, then a graduate student at University College London, began the training necessary to qualify as a licensed clinical psychologist. Over the next three years, she worked in hospitals, clinics and private practices where she met individuals whose stories helped “to establish [her] thinking as a doctor.” Among the most influential was her fierce, no-nonsense female mentor, Chris Moorhead. The author often found herself at bitter odds with this woman, who relentlessly pushed Byron to move beyond her own doubt and insecurity. The most compelling portraits, however, are those of the clients. In remembering the early days of her training, the author recalls the story of her first serious case, a man who seemed to be suffering from panic attacks but was actually a knife-wielding sociopath. This encounter, along with a case that soon followed involving a suicidal 12-year-old, terrified Byron and led to a temporary rupture with her mentor. While Chris refused to let Byron give in to her fears, she also refused to offer nurturing and support. In the meantime, the author fought to stay emotionally balanced and maintain her professional bearing around clients she especially loved, including a brilliant young anorexic woman struggling with an overly developed sense of responsibility for her parents and an AIDS-infected man trying to cope with his own imminent demise. Only gradually did the author learn to “put [her] own ‘shit’ aside” for the greater good. In the end, Byron realized that the inner journeys in which she participated with her clients were far more personal than she ever knew. By working with each person, she was in fact moving from “chaos to clarity” in her own mind and heart.

 A lucid and compassionate memoir.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05265-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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