An intimate, insightful meditation on the science, art, and business of healing.

SOMETHING AWESOME

A LIFE IN NEUROSURGERY

A doctor reflects on medicine and the human drama underlying it in this heartfelt memoir.

Friedman recaps his 44-year career as a neurosurgeon, including a long tenure as the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Florida, in loose, episodic chapters full of reminiscences, medical lore, case studies, policy briefs, and philosophical musings. Among the grab bag are his recollections of confusion, anxiety, and sleep deprivation as a resident; detailed descriptions of surgical procedures; a poignant elegy on his mother’s decline and death from a brain tumor; explanations of his groundbreaking research into using electrical monitoring of neural activity to guide neurosurgeons; a sharp critique of American health care, which he calls a “disgrace” for its high cost, poor quality, and lack of universal coverage; a look at his own efforts to improve quality in his neurosurgery department with checklists and meticulous teamwork; a lengthy account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, complete with the autopsy report; and a plangent chapter authored by his colleague Jobyna Whiting recounting an incident in which she treated a doomed victim of an auto accident and the shame-ridden man who killed her. Friedman’s narrative is a bit of a ramble, but his workmanlike prose and lucid discussions of complex medical issues make the many digressions a pleasure to follow. Personal relationships are central to his portrait of doctoring: He’s warmly appreciative of supportive teachers and mentors—and critical of the “impatience” and “cruelty” of others—and conveys both the camaraderie of medical practice and the occasional eruptions of poisonous office politics, including bogus allegations of financial misconduct leveled at him by an underperforming surgeon he tried to fire. He’s at his best in describing the emotional turmoil that besets every doctor amid the vagaries of life and death. (“A woman with everything to live for had come to me for help and, instead, had died….And thus began the process that occurs every time I have a bad result: relentless self-doubt and self-loathing. You veer into imposter syndrome where, for a time, you believe that you’re not really a good neurosurgeon, that you are entirely unworthy.”) The result is a frank, revealing view of a doctor’s experience.

An intimate, insightful meditation on the science, art, and business of healing.

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63576-754-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Radius Book Group

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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