A book provides a beautifully rendered introduction to a remarkable healing initiative and a useful tool kit.

A Curriculum of Courage

MAKING SAFEART

The founder of SafeArt, which focuses on creative expression to prevent and heal abuse and other traumas, discusses its genesis and methods in this debut educational guide.

The author begins her book with “Coming To,” her monologue about being “reborn” at age 30 by finally leaving her emotionally abusive husband, which is also the “story that led to the creation of SafeArt.” She came to realize that having the courage to take dance classes at 20 and then expressing herself through that discipline greatly aided her healing journey, a tactic that she now applies and expands on via SafeArt’s various arts-focused workshops and activities. In this guide, Penfield (co-editor: On Our Way: An Anthology of SafeArt Writing, 2000-2010, 2016, etc.) discusses her organization’s key principles. They include the need to trust one’s gut instincts regarding abusive situations and to be accountable in responding to them, which means taking responsibility and following mandated reporting procedures when a witness to abuse. She also touches on how the brain deals with trauma, drawing on scientific sources, and, in what constitutes the bulk of this volume, outlines the various “explorations” or arts activities that have proved effective for SafeArt. They include having workshop participants imagine and then draw the different compartments of their brains as a way to understand the responses that can happen in the face of abuse. Penfield deftly weaves an array of SafeArt participants’ works (poems, drawings, etc.) as well as many personal journal entries into her commentary, with several appendices of workshop outlines and tools as well as an additional resource list completing the book. She has created a lovely multimedia narrative that gently leads readers into SafeArt’s world, with its case-study stories and contributed illustrations serving as a mirror and testimony to the impact and value of this wonderful organization. The volume’s backmatter then presents practical takeaways for implementation. While some readers may prefer a more straightforward, blueprint approach, the exploratory nature of this work remains both appropriate to SafeArt’s mission and well worth the odyssey.

A book provides a beautifully rendered introduction to a remarkable healing initiative and a useful tool kit.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2016

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

NIGHT

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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