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And Some Will Triumph


A remembrance that beautifully underscores the severity and complexities of mental health issues.

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An evocative debut memoir of a psychiatric nurse.

Sollars studied psychology in college in the 1960s but never thought about a career in nursing, as the idea of blood and sickness made her stomach churn. After the Vietnam War, the U.S. government, recognizing the shortage of nurses and social workers, offered funding for anyone who was interested in those professions. As a single mom who was dissatisfied with the jobs she’d held, Sollars applied for social work. She scored high on the test only to find that the funding was in limbo and that she might have to wait two years before she could begin her schooling. Her father encouraged her to train as a nurse for psychiatric patients. Sollars began her training, and within her first two months, she witnessed a patient’s psychotic break. Many of the events that she relates in this book would unnerve most people—such as patients self-harming or experiencing hallucinations—and although she was frightened at times, Sollars impressively held out, working to help tortured individuals whom other people wished to forget. The author shows how the taboo against mental illness was all too real; early on in her career, for example, she faced people who didn’t want to admit that their family members were suffering from illness and instead chalked up their behavior to drug use. Sollars, however, wasn’t willing to stand by and do nothing about this. Instead, she wrote a proposal, later approved, for a program to help family members understand their loved ones’ conditions. Sollars demonstrates her commitment to her patients throughout each chapter of her memoir, and her accessible language and detailed scenarios reconstruct the horror, surprise, empathy, and confusion of working in a mental illness ward. At the same time, Sollars never sensationalizes her patients. In many ways, her memoir is a remarkable timeline of the treatment of mental illness in the past 40 years, and it’s a triumphant account of her boldness as a mother, nurse, and woman. At a time when mental health is in the forefront of conversations about our health care system, her story is one of hope.

A remembrance that beautifully underscores the severity and complexities of mental health issues.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5144-7766-3

Page Count: 440

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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