I picked this book up immediately after finishing the second in the series and, oh man, it did not disappoint. This book presents an old school BrotheI picked this book up immediately after finishing the second in the series and, oh man, it did not disappoint. This book presents an old school Brothers Grimm style blood-curdling, toes-curling fairy tale, peppered with characters we’ve already come to know and love.
Blind Michael is scary. What he does to the children is really scary. Everything about Blind Michael and his twisted land scared the crap out of me, and I don’t scare easily. It was exactly the sort of scare I used to seek out as a child from the original Grimm Fairy Tales (the ones that are not cleaned up). This book goes a lot darker than the first two, which were already dark, and it went there in such a different way from the first two plots. The first two plots were entirely about murder, here we have someone stealing children from their beds. It’s a completely different type of scare and different sort of mystery for Toby to have to figure out.
The plot tells more than just this one mystery, though, it also brings out some information that is key to the overarching plot of the series. I really enjoyed how smoothly this was worked together, and I also must say I didn’t predict at all where it was going.
There are basically two themes in the book, one I appreciated and the other I didn’t particularly agree with. Let’s start with the one I didn’t agree with.
There’s a theme in the book that children on some level must deal with and be held responsible for the choices of their parents. Toby tries to pretend otherwise, but that doesn’t work out so well for her. It basically reads as the idea that you can’t run away from your family or from your blood, your nature. Personally, I don’t like that frame of thought. You can leave your family of birth and not have to be held responsible for them. You are not your parents. You are your own person. You are not responsible for what your parents do after you leave home. So this theme didn’t sit well with me. Other readers who agree with this theme will obviously enjoy it more.
The other theme was one I was quite happy to see so directly addressed in an urban fantasy and that is of suicidal ideation. There are many different ways that suicidal ideation can manifest, but with Toby her symptoms are that she firmly believes her death is imminent and is planning for it, and she repeatedly throws herself into risk situations because she doesn’t care if she dies. Suicidal ideation essentially means that a person is lacking self-preservation instincts and is ok with dying. They won’t actually commit suicide but they will put themselves into dangerous situations because part of them does want to die. So they might run across a street without looking, go walking alone at 2am in a dangerous neighborhood, etc… Toby’s depression from the first two books has grown so much that she is now at this point, and people have started calling her out on it. Seeing her realize that she’s, in layman’s terms, got a death wish, is interesting and well-done. What I appreciate most about it is how directly it is addressed.
Overall, this entry in the series brings back the characters readers have come to love and puts them into a new mystery much more terrifying than the first two. Two strong themes in the book include nature/nurture/ties to parents and dealing with suicidal ideation. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed. This is a roller coaster ride of emotions and peril.
I was intrigued by the concept of this book. Yes, it’s another abduction story, but wrapping it in the therapy sessions after she escapes was an ideaI was intrigued by the concept of this book. Yes, it’s another abduction story, but wrapping it in the therapy sessions after she escapes was an idea I had not seen before. So when I saw this on sale for the kindle, I snatched it up. I’m glad I did, because this is a surprisingly edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Stevens deals with the potential issue of back-and-forth with the therapist by having Annie say in her first session that in order to feel safe talking about what happened to her, she needs the therapist to say very little back to her. It is acknowledged that the therapist says some things to Annie, but it appears that she waits to talk until the end of the session when Annie is done talking. What the therapist says isn’t recorded but Annie does sometimes respond to what she suggested in later sessions. This set-up has the potential to be clunky, but Stevens handled it quite eloquently. It always reads smoothly.
The plot itself starts out as a basic abducted/escaped one, with most of the thriller aspects of the first half of the book coming from slowly finding out everything that happened to Annie when she was abducted. The second half is where the plot really blew me away, though. The investigation into her kidnapping turns extremely exciting and terrifying. I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice to say that I wasn’t expecting most of the thrills to come from the investigation after the kidnapping and yet they did.
Annie is well-developed. Her PTSD is written with a deep understanding of it. For instance, she both needs human connection and is (understandably) terrified of it, so she pushes people away. Stevens shows Annie’s PTSD in every way, from how she talks to her therapist to how she behaves now to subtle comparisons to how she used to be before she was traumatized.
Other characters are well-rounded enough to seem like real people, including her abductor, yet it also never seems like Annie is describing them with more information than she would logically have.
I do want to take just a moment to let potential readers know that there are graphic, realistic descriptions of rape. Similarly, the end of the book may be triggering for some. I cannot say why without revealing what happens but suffice to say that if triggers are an issue for you in your recovery from trauma, you may want to wait until you are further along in your recovery and feel strong enough to handle potentially upsetting realistic descriptions of trauma.
Overall, this is a strong thriller with a creative story-telling structure. Those who enjoy abduction themed thrillers will find this one unique enough to keep them on the edge of their seat. Those with an interest in PTSD depicted in literature will find this one quite realistic and appreciate the inclusion of therapy sessions in the presentation.
This book is an engaging mystery that also eloquently captures the experience of having a mental illness that makes you question yourself and what youThis book is an engaging mystery that also eloquently captures the experience of having a mental illness that makes you question yourself and what you know while simultaneously giving a realistic glance into the queer community.
Imp is an unreliable first person narrator, and she fully admits this from the beginning. She calls herself a madwoman who was the daughter of a madwoman who was a daughter of a madwoman too. Mental illness runs in her family. She states that she will try not to lie, but it’s hard to know for sure when she’s lying. This is due to her schizophrenia. Imp is writing down the story of what she remembers happening in journal style on her typewriter because she is trying to figure out the mystery of what exactly happened for herself. The reader is just along for this ride. And it’s a haunting, terrifying ride. Not because of what Imp remembers happening with Eva Canning but because of being inside the mind of a person suffering from such a difficult mental illness. Experiencing what it is to not be able to trust your own memories, to not be sure what is real and is not real, is simultaneously terrifying and heart-breaking.
Imp’s schizophrenia, plus some comorbid anxiety and OCD, and how she experiences and deals with them, lead to some stunningly beautiful passages. This is particularly well seen in one portion of the book where she is more symptomatic than usual (for reasons which are spoilers, so I will leave them out).
The thing that’s great about the writing in the book is that it shows both the beauty and pain of mental illness. Imp’s brain is simultaneously beautiful for its artistic abilities and insight and a horrible burden in the ways that her mental illness tortures her and makes it difficult for her to live a “normal” life. This is something many people with mental illness experience but find it hard to express. It’s why many people with mental illness struggle with drug adherence. They like the ability to function in day-to-day society and pass as normal but they miss being who they are in their own minds. Kiernan eloquently demonstrates this struggle and shows the beauty and pain of mental illness.
There is a lot of GLBTQ representation in the book, largely because Kiernan is clearly not just writing in a token queer character. Imp is a lesbian, and her world is the world of a real-to-life lesbian. She is not the only lesbian surrounded by straight people. People who are part of the queer community, in multiple different aspects, are a part of Imp’s life. Her girlfriend for part of the book is Abalyn, who is transwoman and has slept with both men and women both before and after her transition. She never identifies her sexuality in the book, but she states she now prefers women because the men tend to not be as interested in her now that she has had bottom surgery. The conversation where she talks about this with Imp is so realistic that I was stunned. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a conversation about both transitioning and the complicated aspects of dating for trans people that was this realistic outside of a memoir. Eva Canning is bisexual. It’s difficult to talk about Eva Canning in-depth without spoilers, so, suffice to say, Eva is out as bisexual and she is also promiscuous. However, her promiscuity is not presented in a biphobic way. Bisexual people exist on the full spectrum from abstinent to monogamous to poly to promiscuous. What makes writing a bisexual character as promiscuous biphobic is whether the promiscuity is presented as the direct result of being bi, and Kiernan definitely does not write Eva this way. Kiernan handles all of the queer characters in a realistic way that supports their three-dimensionality, as well as prevents any GLBTQphobia.
The plot is a difficult one to follow, largely due to Imp’s schizophrenia and her attempts at figuring out exactly what happened. The convoluted plot works to both develop Imp’s character and bring out the mystery in the first two-thirds of the book. The final third, though, takes an odd turn. Imp is trying to figure out what she herself believes actually happened, and it becomes clear that what she ultimately believes happened will be a mix of reality and her schizophrenic visions. That’s not just acceptable, it’s beautiful. However, it’s hard to follow what exactly Imp chooses to believe. I started to lose the thread of what Imp believes happens right around the chapter where multiple long siren songs are recounted. It doesn’t feel like Imp is slowly figuring things out for herself and has made a story that gives her some stability in her life. Instead it feels like she is still too symptomatic to truly function. I never expected clear answers to the mystery but I did at least expect that it would be clear what Imp herself believes happened. The lack of this removed the gut-wrenching power found in the first two-thirds of the book.
Overall, this book takes the traditional mystery and changes it from something external to something internal. The mystery of what really happened exists due to Imp’s schizophrenia, which makes it a unique read for any mystery fan. Further, Imp’s mental illness is presented eloquently through her beautiful first-person narration, and multiple GLBTQ characters are present and written realistically. Recommended to mystery fans looking for something different, those seeking to understand what it is like to have a mental illness, and those looking to read a powerful book featuring GLBTQ characters whose queerness is just an aspect of who they are and not the entire point of the story.
A sequel that takes the original entry’s theme on overcoming your family origin and ramps it up a notch, Doctor Sleep eloquently explores how our famiA sequel that takes the original entry’s theme on overcoming your family origin and ramps it up a notch, Doctor Sleep eloquently explores how our family origin, genetics, and past make us who we are today. All set against a gradually ramping up race against the clock to save a little girl from a band of murdering travelers.
The book begins with a brief visit to Danny as a kid who learns that the supernatural creatures exist in places other than the Overlook, and they are attracted to the shine. This lets the reader first get reacquainted with Danny as a child and also establishes that the supernatural are a potential problem everywhere. The book then jumps aggressively forward to Danny as a 20-something with a bad drinking problem. It’s an incredibly gritty series of scenes, and it works perfectly to make Dan a well-rounded character, instead of a perfect hero of the shine.
The way Dan overcomes both his drinking and his temper, as well as how he learns to deal with his shine, is he joins Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). In contrast to his father who tried to quit drinking on his own, Dan attempts it in a group with accountability. This then shows how much easier it is to overcome a mental illness with community support. I appreciated seeing this. I will say, however, that some of the AA talk in the book can get a bit heavy-handed.
The big bad in this book is a band of supernatural creatures who were once human and still look human. But they change somehow by taking steam and go on to live almost indefinitely. They can die from stupid accidents and sometimes randomly drop dead. The steam is acquired by torturing children who have the shine. The shine comes out of their bodies as steam when they are in pain. They call themselves The True Knot. This troop is a cartoonish group of evil people who try to look like a troop of retirees and some of their family traveling in a camper caravan. The leader of this group is Rose the Hat–a redheaded woman who wears a top hat at an impossibly jaunty angle. I was pleased to see Rose written quite clearly as a bisexual. Her sexuality is just an aspect of who she is, just like her red hair. Seeing a bi person as the big bad was a delight. Her bisexuality isn’t demonized. Her actions as a child killer and eater of steam are. She is a monster because of her choices, not because of who she is. I alternated between finding The True Knot frightening and too ridiculously cartoonish to be scary. I do think that was partially the point, though. You can’t discredit people who seem ridiculous as being harmless.
How Abra is found by The True Knot, and how she in turn finds Dan, makes sense within the world King has created. Abra is a well-written middle school girl. King clearly did his research into what it’s like to be a middle schooler in today’s world. Additionally, the fact that Abra is so much older than Danny was in The Shining means it’s much easier for the reader to understand how the shine works and see a child, who understands at least a bit what it is, grapple with it. This made Abra, although she is a child with a shine, a different experience for the reader who already met one child with a shine in the previous book.
There is one reveal later in the book in relation to Abra that made me cringe a bit, since it felt a bit cliche. It takes a bit of a leap of faith to believe, and I must admit it made me roll my eyes a bit. However, it is minor enough in the context of the overall story that it didn’t ruin my experience with the book. I just wish a less cliche choice had been made.
Overall, this sequel to The Shining successfully explores both what happened to Danny Torrance when he grew up and a different set of frightening supernatural circumstances for a new child with the shine. This time a girl. The themes of nature, nurture, your past, and overcoming them are all eloquently explored. There is a surprising amount of content about AA in the book. It could either inspire or annoy the reader, depending on their mind-set. Any GLBTQ readers looking for a bi big bad should definitely pick it up, as Rose the Hat is all that and more. Recommended to fans of Stephen King and those that enjoy a fantastical thriller drenched in Americana.
A memoir that gives insight to having an eating disorder, the impact of homophobia, and an inside look at the professional dance world told in a non-lA memoir that gives insight to having an eating disorder, the impact of homophobia, and an inside look at the professional dance world told in a non-linear, honest, and engaging manner.
Greta tells her memoir in the framework of a play. There are scenes, acts, overtures, etc… This lets her address the story in a non-linear way that still makes sense. It’s a creative storytelling technique that brings a freshness to her memoir.
Honesty without cruelty to herself or others is a key part of her narrative voice. Greta is straightforward, sometimes grotesquely so, about her bulimia and what it does to her. The eating disorder is not glamorized. Greta takes us down into the nitty-gritty of the illness. In fact, it’s the first bulimia memoir I’ve read that was so vivid and straightforward in its depictions of what the illness is and what it does.
Greta also is unafraid to tell us about what goes on inside her own mind, and where she sees herself as having mistreated people in the past. I never doubted her honesty. Similarly, although Greta’s parents definitely did some things wrong in how they raised her, Greta strives to both acknowledge the wounds and accept her parents as flawed and wounded in their own ways. You can hear her recovery in how she talks about both them and her childhood. She has clearly done the work to heal past wounds.
The memoir honestly made me grateful the dancing I did as a child never went the professional route. It’s disturbing how pervasive body policing and addictions in general are in the dance world, at least as depicted by Greta. Similarly, it eloquently demonstrates how parents’ issues get passed down to the children, and sometimes even exacerbated.
One shortcoming of the memoir is that Greta never fully addresses her internalized homophobia or how she ultimately overcomes it and marries her wife. The book stops rather abruptly when Greta is leaving the halfway house she lived in right after her time in the inpatient clinic. There is an epilogue where she briefly touches on the time after the halfway house, mentions relapse, and states that she ultimately overcame her internalized homophobia and met her now wife. Leaving out how she dealt with that and healed felt like leaving out a huge chunk of the story I was very interested in. Perhaps it’s just too painful of a topic for her to discuss, but it did feel as if the memoir gave glimpses and teasers of it, discussing how she would only make out with women when very drunk for instance, but then the issue is never fully addressed in the memoir.
Similarly, leaving out the time after the halfway house was disappointing. I wanted to see her finish overcoming and succeeding. I wanted to hear the honesty of her relapses that she admits she had and how she overcome that. I wanted to hear about her dating and meeting her wife and embracing her sexuality. Hearing about the growth and strength past the initial part in the clinic and halfway house is just as interesting and engaging as and more inspiring than her darker times. I wish she had told that part of the story too.
Overall, this is a unique entry in the eating disorder memoir canon. It gives the nitty gritty details of bulimia from the perspective of a lesbian suffering from homophobia within the framework of the dance world. Those who might be triggered should be aware that specific height and weight numbers are given, as well as details on binge foods and purging episodes. It also, unfortunately, doesn’t fully address how the author healed from the wounds of homophobia. However, her voice as a queer person is definitely present in the memoir. Recommended to those with an interest in bulimia in adults, in the dance world, or among GLBTQ people.
You can’t read that title and not be intrigued. It’s impossible. I spotted it on tumblr and instantly knew I had to read it. A memoir about a transwomYou can’t read that title and not be intrigued. It’s impossible. I spotted it on tumblr and instantly knew I had to read it. A memoir about a transwoman who was a member of Scientology?! It’s the intersection of three topics I find fascinating.
Kate is unabashedly honest about the fact that this book exists as a letter to her daughter, Jessica. The prologue explains that this memoir came about as a way for Kate to reach out to Jessica and her children, even after Kate has passed away. This lends a tone to the book of an elderly neighbor sitting down to tell you their life story, and you finding out gradually that your elderly neighbor is, in fact, a bad ass, and age has nothing to do with how cool a person still is to this day. And Kate doesn’t hold back because of this perspective. If anything, she is more brutally honest than she might otherwise be. She wants Jessica to have a whole, clear picture of who she is. Flaws and all.
After the prologue, Kate tells her story chronologically. Her story can be roughly summarized as the following sections: growing up a gender queer person, joining Scientology, break-down after getting kicked out of Scientology and coming to terms with her queerness, transitioning, life as a lesbian trans activist, finding BDSM, and overcoming depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride, and one cannot help but feel empathy for this person just struggling to find a place in the world. Personally, I think Kate’s life story is an excellent argument for breaking down the binary gender divide. A lot of Kate’s struggles come from the rigid gender norms and expectations placed upon her by others. It would have been much simpler for people to have let her be gender fluid, and indeed, Kate in more recent years has come to be an activist for gender fluidity and queerness (as is evidenced by her book Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us). This memoir of course explores trans issues, but it also is an amazing gender queer memoir.
The Scientology section was surprisingly mundane compared to what I thought actually happens in Scientology. Yes, there was abuse and lies and many other things going on that demonstrate the fallacies of L. Ron Hubbard, but honestly none of it was that much worse than religious extremists of any religion. Scientology expects its followers to cut themselves off from people deemed poisonous and to proselytize non-stop. It takes over the lives of the people in the upper-echelons, controlling every aspect of their lives. We can see all of this in Kate’s years in Scientology, and while it was interesting, none of it is shocking to anyone moderately informed on Scientology. I actually was more interested in how Kate wound up joining Scientology. Scientology teaches the the soul is genderless, and you also reincarnate. Everyone has been in both male and female bodies. Kate (then Al) found this incredibly comforting. It’s possible that his soul was just more frequently in female bodies, and so that’s why he felt like a girl inside. What an appealing concept to a confused, unsupported trans or gender queer young adult. I think this part of the book demonstrates clearly why it’s important for families and loved ones to be supportive of their GLBTQ teens and young people.
Interestingly, the much more shocking section was the one in which Kate discusses discovering BDSM and getting pleasure from pain. Kate was part of a BDSM triad for quite some time, and this is addressed. It does, however, come with a warning for Jessica and readers who might not want to hear the details so they can easily skip over it and still get the most important information without getting all the details. I thought that was a nice touch from Kate, showing her maturity and openness. Of course, I read that section, and I will say that Kate had a more intense BDSM relationship than you tend to see in literature, and it was interesting to read about.
It’s also interesting to note that from the prologue Kate is honest with the reader about being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder years ago. This is not something I knew coming into the book, and I don’t think Kate’s mental illness played very much into the book. I certainly think she would have had a better time coping with her mental health issues if she had had a supportive environment for her queerness. Even within the GLBTQ community, she was ostracized for some of her less mainstream beliefs within that community. It’s sad that even a community of people ostracized by the larger society, people can still be unaccepting and unloving.
I feel like I’ve rambled a lot about this book. It’s hard to succinctly discuss a memoir as unique as this one, let alone a book you love as much as I loved this one. It’s amazing. It’s unique. It does exactly what a memoir should do. It tells a unique life story in an engaging way that forces the reader to put herself into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy and maybe even come out of it with a changed worldview, however slightly. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, really, but especially anyone with an interest in GLBTQ history/theory/studies or an interest in the first few decades of Scientology. I will definitely be reading more of Kate’s works, myself, and want to thank her for being a pioneer, in spite of everything.
The plot this time around was disappointingly full of obvious red herrings. I knew within the first chapter where Nobody was hidin*Actually 3.5 stars*
The plot this time around was disappointingly full of obvious red herrings. I knew within the first chapter where Nobody was hiding, and it was kind of ridiculous that talented, intelligent John was missing it. Similarly, I found the serial killer who John identified as who he could end up being if he made the wrong choices to be a bit heavy-handed. John was already well aware of the risks of his sociopathy from the very first book. It felt a bit unnecessary to make this such a strong plot point. It came across as preachy, which is something that this series had avoided so far. Similarly, John goes to see a priest at one point in his investigations, and his conversations with him felt a bit too heavy-handed, almost like the (known religious) Wells was preaching at the readers through the priest. Authors are allowed their opinions and perspectives, but preachiness is never good writing. Perspective and opinion should be shown eloquently through the plot and characters.
Speaking of characterization, John was still strongly written, but his mother and sister were another story. They felt less like they were doing what was logical and more like they were doing what needed to be done to move the plot forward. On the other hand, I really enjoyed John’s new girlfriend. She was well-rounded and realistic. Plus she was fit while being curvy, which I think is a great thing to see in a book.
In spite of the slightly obvious plot, I still was engaged to get to the end. Even though I knew whether or not there was a demon and who the killer was, I still deeply wanted to see how John would handle it. The audiobook narrator, Kirby Heyborne, helped with this momentum. His narration was just the right amount of tension while still remaining in a teenager’s voice. Be warned, though, that there is some yelling in the book, so the volume does spike considerably at a few points in the narration. You may want to keep the volume a bit lower than usual to accommodate this.
Unfortunately, where the plot ultimately ended up was deeply disappointing to me. It was not at all a satisfying ending, and from a mental illness advocacy perspective, I actually found it distressing. Whereas John’s sociopathy previously was handled with a lot of scientific understanding, I found the ending of this book to be completely out of touch with real sociopathy. While it wasn’t offensive per se, it drastically oversimplifies sociopathy, both its treatment and its causes, which is just as bad as demonizing it. I will address this issue more fully in the series review, but suffice to say that I found the ending to this book’s individual mystery and the series as a whole to be disappointing, particularly given the potential of the book.
Overall, then, this is an average book that wraps up an above average series. If you are someone who is fine with stopping things partway through, I’d recommend just stopping with the previous book in the series, Mr. Monster. But if you are interested in the overall perspective, this book is still an engaging read that doesn’t drag. It just might disappoint you.
It’s not easy to find a book addressing healing from abuse that manages to walk the fine line of understanding for all involved and absolute condemnatIt’s not easy to find a book addressing healing from abuse that manages to walk the fine line of understanding for all involved and absolute condemnation of the abusive actions and that simultaneously encourages agency and healing without making the survivor become stuck in a victim’s mentality. Dr. McBride strikes this balance eloquently.
The three sections of the book work perfectly for guiding the reader through understanding precisely what happened in her childhood, how it impacts her adulthood, and how to regain agency of herself and her life. NPD is not a mental illness that is well-understood or recognized. The first section thus must explain NPD and how NPD leads to abusive mothering without demonizing the mother suffering from NPD. This section also serves to provide an aha moment for the reader. It will immediately be clear if your mother has/had NPD or not, and if she does/did, it will shine a light on the daughter’s childhood, proving she is not crazy or ungrateful. Some of the signs of a mother with NPD include: the mother demanding praise for everything she’s ever done for the daughter, a lack of compassion or empathy for the daughter, approval for who the mother wants the daughter to be instead of who she is, the mother perceives of the daughter as a threat, the mother is jealous of the daughter for various reasons, the mother is overly critical or judgmental, the mother uses the daughter as a scapegoat for her bad feelings, the mother treats the daughter like a friend, no boundaries or privacy, the mother involves the daughter prematurely in the adult world, and more.
The next section looks at what impact being raised by a mother with NPD has on the daughter’s adult life. McBride factually explains where some of the daughter’s less healthy behaviors and thought processes may come from without falling into the trap many childhood healing books fall into of repeatedly directing negative energy toward the parent. Some of the issues that may be present in an adult daughter raised by a mother with NPD include: high-achieving or self-sabotaging or waffling between the two, difficulty understanding and processing feelings, inappropriate love relationships that are dependent or codependent or giving up on relationships entirely, fear of becoming a mother herself, unconsciously mimicking her mother’s parenting with her own children or doing the exact opposite of what her mother did.
The final section is all about the daughter healing, overcoming, and taking agency for herself. McBride encourages therapy, but also offers at-home tips and exercises for those who cannot afford it. An example of one of these is the “internal mother” exercise. This exercise involves many steps, but it essentially seeks to replace the internal negative messages the daughter has from her own mother with more positive messages that are the type the daughter wanted from her real mother. The daughter grieves the mother she never got to have and learns to parent herself. Much of the work in this section involves grieving the mother and childhood the daughter never got to have, accepting it for what it is, giving herself the encouragement and mothering she needs, learning to set boundaries, and the daughter coming to be in charge of her own life. The exercises are not simple and may seem a bit overwhelming to the reader at first, but they do serve to mimic the real therapy process, encouraging introspection, journaling, grieving, and behavioral changes.
One thing I really appreciate about McBride’s approach is how she handles the adult relationship between daughter and mother. She 100% encourages the daughter to make the choice that is right for her own emotional health and that simultaneously does not expect miracles from her mother. Since most people with NPD don’t receive successful treatment, McBride carefully admonishes the daughter to base her decision based on her mother’s proven behavior. She encourages setting clear boundaries, and individuating oneself from mother. But she also acknowledges that having a relationship at all with a mother with severe NPD might not be possible. Refusing to give one-size-fits-all advice on the relationship between a narcissistic mother and her adult daughter is just one example of the many positives of this book. McBride offers insight, advice, and isn’t afraid to say what might be painful to hear. She has done an excellent job putting the therapy process into book format, as much as possible.
Overall, this book tackles an incredibly difficult topic in an even-handed, clear manner. Its focus on just daughters of mothers with NPD allows Dr. McBride to give targeted examples and advice to the reader. It never excuses the mother’s behavior, firmly condemning it, but still exhibits compassion for the mother suffering from NPD. Any woman who thinks she may have been raised by a woman with NPD should read this book and see if any of it rings true for her. Additionally recommended to anyone interested in how NPD impacts parenting and the next generation.
It’s rare to see a memoir by a father. There are a ton of memoirs by mothers but not a lot by fathers, particularly not by fathers of daughters. Put tIt’s rare to see a memoir by a father. There are a ton of memoirs by mothers but not a lot by fathers, particularly not by fathers of daughters. Put this together with the fact that Jani (her parents’ nickname for her) has childhood-onset schizophrenia, and you have one unique book.
This is an excellently told memoir. It opens with Michael speaking about having his daughter’s diagnosis now and struggling with all the barriers toward a normal life presented not just by her illness but by the world we live in.
After the introduction, Michael tells the story in a linear fashion. He does a good job remembering how he felt in the early days. His immense pride at his daughter’s high IQ and creative mind coupled with a determination to help her succeed and be herself. It’s fascinating to see, as an outsider, how early there were warning signs that something was not quite right with Jani but that Michael and Susan (her mother) attributed to a positive cause. I think that’s typical of parents and indeed of anyone who loves someone. They were looking for the best. Believing in the best for their daughter.
This of course makes Jani’s move toward violent behavior at the age of five that much more heart-breaking to read. I’ve heard and read stories and documentaries of how difficult it is for parents of young adults who become schizophrenic but at least they are adults. To have this happening to your five year old is completely terrifying. How do you control a child for whom no punishments seem to work? Who is more concerned with appeasing her hallucinations than with obeying her parents?
I certainly don’t agree with all the parenting choices the Schofields made in the first five years of her life (and for the record, neither do all of the psychiatrists), but none of their choices would create schizophrenia. This is one of those occasions where you don’t always agree with the choices the memoirist made, but you’re also not right in the heat of the battle. It’s far easier to say, “oh, you should have done this,” when it’s not your child who’s being lost to a mental illness right before your eyes.
That’s the thing about this memoir. Michael is so obviously completely honest. He tells things that happened that don’t present him in the best light. He is completely forthcoming in his own shortcomings, but he reiterates over and over how much he loves his daughter and wants to keep his family together. This combination does for this memoir what a lot of memoirs don’t have: it lends a complete sense of validity to the story as a whole.
This level of honesty combined with his writing ability make this memoir a strong call. A call to parents of children who are other-abled (whether mentally or physically) that they are not alone. It’s also a call to the rest of us who are not one of these parents to take a moment to think how difficult it must be and go easier on the parents and the child. I know I for one might think the next time I see a kid throwing an epic tantrum, “Maybe that child has an illness” instead of “Sheesh, do a better job, parents.”
Overall, this is a well-written memoir presenting the unique perspective of a father caring for a daughter with a mental illness. It also provides one of the few accounts of childhood-onset schizophrenia. Highly recommended to parents with special needs children, as well as to anyone who enjoys memoirs and the different perspectives reading them can bring.
Check out my full review. (Link will be live August 8, 2012).
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
It’s been a while since I ventured in military scifi. I usually stick with the more sociological/psych experiment or cyberpunk areas of the genre, butIt’s been a while since I ventured in military scifi. I usually stick with the more sociological/psych experiment or cyberpunk areas of the genre, but this one just stuck out to me. I think its combination of aspects is just intriguing–a drug addicted journalist, a future war on earth, underground warfare, and robots. It certainly held my attention and flamed my interest in military scifi.
Oscar is a well-rounded character. At first he seems flat and frankly like a total douchebag, but that’s because he’s a depressed drug addict. We learn gradually what landed him there and how he grows out of it with time. It’s an interesting character development arc because although many arcs show how war leads to alcoholism or drug addiction, in Oscar’s case although it at first makes his addiction worse, it ultimately helps him beat it. Because he ultimately snaps and realizes that the drugs are not helping the problems. They’re just making them worse. This is so key for anyone struggling with an addiction to realize. Pain in the present to feel better in the future. And McCarthy does an excellent job showing this progression without getting preachy. Sometimes you want to throttle Oscar, but you ultimately come to at least respect him if not like him. I wasn’t expecting such strong characterization in a military scifi, and I really enjoyed it.
The world McCarthy has built is interesting. The war itself is fairly typical–first world countries butting heads over resources in third world countries. But the content of the battles and the fighting methods are futuristic enough to maintain the scifi feel.
Now, I will say, some of the battle scenes and near misses that Oscar has seem a bit of a stretch. I know odd things happen in war, and anyone can get lucky, but. Everyone’s luck runs out eventually. It seemed sometimes as if McCarthy wrote himself into a corner then had to figure out a way to make his main character survive. Escaping danger is fine, and necessary for the book to continue. But it should seem like a plausible escape. And if you have one that seems miraculous, it seems a bit excessive to me to have more than one.
Overall, this piece of futuristic military scifi showcases both war and addiction in an engaging manner. Some readers may be off-put by Oscar at first, but stick it out. It takes many interesting turns. Recommended to scifi fans, whether they generally like military scifi or not.
Mark is an Iraq War vet with PTSD, so he counts himself lucky when a Gulf War vet gives him the chance to be a security guard at an office tower. UnfoMark is an Iraq War vet with PTSD, so he counts himself lucky when a Gulf War vet gives him the chance to be a security guard at an office tower. Unfortunately, he’s the night watchman, and he doesn’t seem to be alone in the tower.
This is a unique, sympathetic story idea that is not as well-executed as it deserves. Mark is ultimately a well-rounded character, but it takes too long to get to know him in this novella. Because this is a first person novella, this problem with the characterization gets in the way of the strengths of the scifi/fantasy plot, which is honestly fairly unique.
Essentially, the scifi/fantasy element of the book is strong, but the characterization at the center of the first person narrative is weak. Although Mark is a soldier, Cadigan shouldn’t be afraid to let us see the vulnerability of his PTSD. Recommended to fans of a unique ghost story looking for a quick read.
Check out my full review. (Link will be live June 11, 20120).
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
On New Year’s Eve, four incredibly different strangers accidentally meet on Topper’s House a popular local spot for suicides. Somehow running into eacOn New Year’s Eve, four incredibly different strangers accidentally meet on Topper’s House a popular local spot for suicides. Somehow running into each other leads to them taking the long way down that night instead of the quick one. What happens after is a continuance of their life stories that no one could have predicted.
Clearly this is a book about depression and suicidality. But it is not a depressing book. Not by far. Without revealing too much, since the revelations are part of the fun of the read, I will just say that the four suicidal people span different generations, reasons, and nations of origin. But what makes them come to understand each other is their universal depression and suicidal thoughts.
In spite of this being a book about depressed people bonding over their depression, it doesn’t read as such. I was reading it on an airplane and found myself literally laughing out loud at sections. Because these people are brilliant. They have a great understanding of the world. Of art. Of relationships. Even of themselves.
Overall this book manages to eloquently present depression without being a depressing book. It is compelling to any reader who has ever struggled with a depressed period of life. Highly recommended to the depressed and the sympathetic. Both will be left feeling lighter and less alone.
Warin, an anthropologist, takes an entirely new approach to anorexia, looking it from a purely cultural and anthropological perspective. She spends aWarin, an anthropologist, takes an entirely new approach to anorexia, looking it from a purely cultural and anthropological perspective. She spends a couple of years interviewing women with anorexia at various points in the life of the illness from early treatment to recovery to relapse. In this way she analyzes not just the culture of women and men suffering from anorexia but also how anorexia is a response to the culture these people find themselves in.
The instant I saw the title and book cover, I knew I needed to read it. The anthropology of anorexia? How fascinating!
It’s interesting that I feel I actually learned a bit more about anthropology than anorexia from this book, but perhaps that is because I am more familiar with the latter than the former. Over the course of the book I learned that abject relations are ambiguous relations. Whereas most books about eating disorders attempt to say THIS definitively caused it, this book’s premise is that the etiology is entirely ambiguous. What caused it, what makes it persist, what it is to suffer from anorexia. Nothing about it is clear-cut. This focus on anorexia as a response to the mainstream culture and a formation of a new culture leads Warin to question a lot of the inpatient treatment techniques. It is an interesting idea to look at anorexia as an abject cultural response, but I don’t think it’s one that is quite as unique or revolutionary as Warin seems to think.
Overall, for an academic look at anorexia this is unique in that it is an anthropological study instead of a psychiatric one. Looking at a group of people who are a group simply because they share the same illness and studying their anthropology is a truly fascinating concept. The book is scientific, but it is social science and is thus easy enough for the mainstream reader to follow. It provides the human aspect of anorexia without sensationalizing. Anyone with an interest in eating disorders or anthropology will enjoy this book.
Michelle ran away from mistakes made at home to the army, and now she’s coming home from three tours of duty to Blackberry Island in the Pacific NorthMichelle ran away from mistakes made at home to the army, and now she’s coming home from three tours of duty to Blackberry Island in the Pacific Northwest. Her father abandoned the family when she was a teenager, but left his historic inn in trust to her. Her mother was running it until she died, and now Michelle is back to reclaim her inheritance. Only it seems that her mother may have not so much been running the inn as running it into the ground. Meanwhile, Michelle’s once best friend, Carly, thought she was working toward owning part of the inn only to be side-swiped by the fact that Michelle’s mother lied to her….not to mention the bad blood between her and Michelle. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with, but toss in Michelle’s PTSD and Carly’s single motherhood, and it seems impossible for either of them to ever truly get their lives in order.
I found the story relatable, heart-warming, and a welcome escape. The plot is complex, which I think is evident from my plot summary. There is a lot going on. But it never feels forced or like too much. Although both Michelle and Carly have their own romance plot lines, the story is really about healing their broken friendship, as well as their wounds from their individual painful pasts.Of course, being the mental illness advocate that I am, I was incredibly pleased to see Michelle’s PTSD come up and be dealt with in such a true to life manner.
Although we do have a couple of sex scenes, I did feel that the romance was a bit….quick and forced for both women. However, this is the first book in a series, so perhaps their romantic relationships will be explored more in future books.
I also have to say that the title makes zero sense to me. It brings to mind summer, but that’s about all the relation I can see between it and the story.
Overall, this is a piece of chick lit with an intelligent perspective on PTSD in female soldiers and a dash of romance. Recommended to fans of the genre as well as those who enjoy a contemporary tale and want to dip their toe into the chick lit world.
A gruesome murder has thrown a British county up-in-arms, and Leo Curtice finds himself the attorney randomly assigned to defend the murderer--a 12 yeA gruesome murder has thrown a British county up-in-arms, and Leo Curtice finds himself the attorney randomly assigned to defend the murderer--a 12 year old boy who killed and sexually assaulted an 11 year old girl. He finds himself seeking to understand what would make a 12 year old kill and finding more empathy for the boy than those around him think is allowable. Meanwhile, threats start coming in against his own family, including his 15 year old daughter.
This book attempts to be a ripped from the headlines style story akin to Room by Emma Donoghue, but it fails drastically in comparison. This story instead of offering fresh perspective is told from the perspective of a defense attorney, which is almost exactly what you would get in the press. There is nothing new or fresh. Curtice sympathizes with the boy killer, but that is not true fresh perspective. It's also problematic when you google about child murderers in Britain and the stories that come up are far more fascinating than the novel you just read. Then there is the whole side-plot about Curtice's daughter, which ultimately is a red herring and a slap in the face to the reader.
Ultimately, Lelic tried to write a ripped from the headlines style story akin to Room, but he failed on all of the points that made Room such a hit. There is no unique viewpoint, no valid suspense, no daring willingness to take things even further in fiction than they went in real life. The book is a disappointment.
Check out my full review. (Link will be live February 27, 2012).
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
It is the year 2060, and the Jesuit priest Emilio Endoz has been found on the planet Rakhat by the second Earth ship to travel there. Found in a whoreIt is the year 2060, and the Jesuit priest Emilio Endoz has been found on the planet Rakhat by the second Earth ship to travel there. Found in a whorehouse and killing a native inhabitant in front the UN members' eyes, they nonetheless strap him into his original spaceship and send him back to the Jesuits. There he is treated for his horrifying wounds and through a series of flashbacks and current conversations with the various Jesuit committee members assigned to his case, we slowly see how everything that started out so right went so horribly wrong on Rakhat.
Russell made the intriguing choice of the first contact with an alien planet being run by missionaries, instead of a political unit. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Who tended to be first to the New World? Religious groups. Who can organize themselves quickly and have vast finances? Religious groups. Having first contact be missionaries makes so much sense that I'm shocked I didn't think of it first.
That said, thankfully this book is not a love letter to organized religion or mission work. It is instead a complex, scientific, and anthropological study of the human condition, the difficulties of vastly different cultures meeting, linguistics, and much more. At its core it is all about why does god (if there is a god) let evil happen, especially to good people who are serving him?
This book reads, it sounds a bit odd to say, almost like an agnostic's prayer. Of course agnostics don't pray, but if they did pray, the pain and wondering and intelligence found in this book would all be there.
All of these things said, I do feel it took a bit too long to get things set up and moving. Granted, I tend to be a bit of an action-focused reader, so others may not have a problem with that. It was still a draw-back of the book for me though.
I sort of feel like I'm not doing the experience of reading this book justice. Suffice to say if you've ever questioned whether or not to have faith and love your big questions to be wrapped in well-thought-out scifi, this is the book for you.
Rose is a textile artist with bipolar disorder who for years found her medication dulled her ability to work. After a stunning betrayal that landed heRose is a textile artist with bipolar disorder who for years found her medication dulled her ability to work. After a stunning betrayal that landed her in a mental hospital, she has moved to a quiet, extraordinarily rural island in Scotland in an attempt to control her illness with as little medication as possible so she may still create her art. Her life isn’t quite as quiet as she imagined it would be, though, with a warm neighbor, Shona, who introduces her to her brother, a teacher and poet.
Gillard weaves an emotional, powerful story with a wonderful point that is so gently present you don't realize it until you've finished the story. Rose is bipolar but that doesn't make her less human or less able to love, even if she thinks it does. Everyone has their own issues and scars to varying degrees.
A typical point? Perhaps. But what makes the book exquisite is how Gillard goes about telling the story of two people who stumble into each other on a rural Scottish island. She changes styles and perspectives throughout the book, almost imitating the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. There is even poetry present, and I liked it.
This is an emotional, challenging, touching book to read. I recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction with a heart.
Olga was a young, successful lawyer in DC when she suddenly started having inexplicable panic attacks and episodes of blank stares or rapidly moving eOlga was a young, successful lawyer in DC when she suddenly started having inexplicable panic attacks and episodes of blank stares or rapidly moving eyes. She sees a psychiatrist and is diagnosed with a moderate case on DID. On the spectrum, she has multiple parts but not exclusive personalities and still has a central core. These parts have kept the memories of her extraordinarily violent, abusive childhood from her consciousness thereby allowing her to function, but just barely. In her memoir, Olga tells what she has now remembered of her childhood and how she has now discovered she managed to function and be surprisingly resilient. She then delves into her long-term therapy and how she has come together into mostly one part and usually no longer dissociates.
Since Olga has a centralized part that has integrated most of the other parts, she writes with clarity and awareness of when she dissociated as a child, the process through therapy, and integration and her new life now. This ability to clearly articulate what was going on and how dissociation was a coping mechanism for her survival makes the book much more accessible for a broader audience. I also appreciate the fact that someone with a mental illness who is Latina, first generation American, and a lesbian is speaking out. Too often the picture of a person with a mental illness is whitewashed.
That said, this clarity and awareness does not carry us entirely through the present. The end of her therapy, her big move away from DC, her coming out process, etc... are not clearly or concisely covered. These are all big issues and seeing how someone with DID deals with them would be beneficial to advocates and those with mental illness alike.
Overall this is a well-written memoir of both childhood abuse, therapy for DID, and living with DID. Olga is an inspirational person, overcoming so much to achieve both acclaim in her career and a happy home life. I recommend it to a wide range of people from those interested in the immigrant experience to those interested in living with a mental illness.
Charlotte works as an interior designer to the super-wealthy of NYC and takes her rage at the wealthy elite (not to mention her mother) out by killingCharlotte works as an interior designer to the super-wealthy of NYC and takes her rage at the wealthy elite (not to mention her mother) out by killing wealthy women who post ads on Craigslist selling their designer items.
Think of this as the female and decidedly less graphically violent or sexual version of American Psycho. Charlotte's rage against the wealthy is our rage. (Well, unless you are the wealthy.....) It's kind of revenge porn, and it works. Charlotte is more than a murderer though, her character is well-rounded, and the true reasons behind her serial killing are revealed gradually and skillfully. It's definitely a fun read for anyone who has to bump elbows with the elite on a routine basis, haha.
The one issue I had that kept this from four stars was the ending, which left me a bit confused as to why Cullerton went there. Also, the cover sucks. The weapon shown isn't even the one Charlotte uses.
Overall this contemporary fiction with a twist is a delightful read. If American Psycho intrigued you but the graphic violence and sex turned you off, definitely give this book a read. It features similar themes with less violence and more well-rounded characters.
Check out my full-length review. (Link will be live on August 9, 2011)...more
For those who love history, this is the published diary of George William Folsom, who worked at McLean Hospital (a mental institution in MassachusettsFor those who love history, this is the published diary of George William Folsom, who worked at McLean Hospital (a mental institution in Massachusetts). The presentation is well-done, with well-researched notes/tidbits inserted by Ms. Little....more
This is by far one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Kiera has one of the mental illnesses that is most difficult for those who don't have it to uThis is by far one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Kiera has one of the mental illnesses that is most difficult for those who don't have it to understand and empathize with--Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Yet here she manages to make her pain and struggles incredibly relatable. From prior to her diagnosis when she would write boys letters in her own blood begging them to take her back, to treatment with Dialectical Behavior Therapy, to her gradual recovery and embracing of Buddhism. Throughout the book she also reaches out to her "Borderline brothers and sisters," letting them know that they are not alone. That their pain is real, but recovery is possible. An entirely engaging, thought-provoking read. I highly recommend it to everyone, but fans of memoirs and those interested in mental illness in particular.
This book that tells the tale of Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street yuppie who suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder, is distinctly uncomfortable tThis book that tells the tale of Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street yuppie who suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder, is distinctly uncomfortable to read. It forces the reader to alternate between identifying with Patrick and being horrified by him. That does not make it a bad book, however. It takes the reader outside of her comfort zone and forces her to confront everything society has mandated to her.
That said, those disturbed by graphic sex and violence should be aware that those are present in spades here.
This second book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series focuses in on self-injury, which is represented by the War Horseman of the Apocalypse. AlthoThis second book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series focuses in on self-injury, which is represented by the War Horseman of the Apocalypse. Although Kessler is recovered from an eating disorder, she has not ever personally self-injured. Thus I was skeptical that this book would live up to the first one. Well, it is clear that Kessler is an empathetic woman who knows how to do her research. She presents an intimate knowledge of self-injury from the behavior to the emotional background for it. The fantasy element helps keep the book from becoming overly-emotional or triggering, and the climax is truly inspiring. I highly recommend it.
Picking up where the previous book left off, John Wayne Cleaver, teenage sociopath and assistant at the family morgue, is trying to pick up the piecesPicking up where the previous book left off, John Wayne Cleaver, teenage sociopath and assistant at the family morgue, is trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of killing a serial killing demon. His inner sociopath, Mr. Monster, has a taste for blood now, and he wants more. Soon new dead bodies start showing up. Although John is almost certain it's a new demon, he isn't certain how much longer he can keep Mr. Monster under control.
This entry in the series accomplishes a lot of tasks. It must address the question of whether John will continue to deal with his sociopathic tendencies in the new, non-traditional way he discovered in the previous book or go back to traditional therapy. It also must set up the trajectory for the rest of the series. Wells accomplishes both of these tasks, plus he manages to make the new demon unique and intriguing, as well as include side-plots concerning John's family and romantic interest. Unfortunately, with so much to do, the book does struggle a bit with uneven pacing. Instead of steadily building to the climax as most good thrillers do, it starts and stops a bit. It's not a disappointing second book in a series, but it isn't amazing.
Kessler creatively discusses the tough topic of mental illness in this fantasy series by having each of the four horsemen of the apocalypse representKessler creatively discusses the tough topic of mental illness in this fantasy series by having each of the four horsemen of the apocalypse represent a mental illness. This first entry has anorexia nervosa (and other eating disorders) represented by Famine. Basically, a teen finds herself saved from death, but must pay Death back by serving as a horseman of the apocalypse. It's a fun way to get teens reading about tough topics and be confronted about them without *feeling* confronted by them.
Although I was at first skeptical about the concept, I found the first entry in the series very well done. It contains a tongue-in-cheek humor that many teens enjoy, and the fantasy is understandable and enjoyable, yet Kessler never fails to present eating disorders as real illnesses with no easy solutions. She writes responsibly and in a relatable manner. I'm looking forward to the next entries in the series.
I recommend this to teen fans of fantasy as well as to those who work with teens with mental illnesses.
Lancaster provides an extraordinary look into the mind of a man with Asperger's syndrome. Edward's life revolves around ritual. He has a hard time intLancaster provides an extraordinary look into the mind of a man with Asperger's syndrome. Edward's life revolves around ritual. He has a hard time interacting with people. Yet Lancaster does not leave him without hope. He shows how compassion and from others and encouragement and constructive criticism to continually work to overcome the illness can lead to a much fuller life for those struggling with mental illness. Although Lancaster sometimes gets carried away showing us Edward's rituals with a bit too much detail (I did not need to know how long he pees or hear summaries of Dragnet episodes every chapter), and the ending comes a bit too soon, it is still a strong book that provides a greater understanding of Asperger's syndrome in particular and mental illness in general.
Wells artfully addresses the sensitive topic of mental illness by cushioning it in an appealing thriller plot. He gives his main character--John WayneWells artfully addresses the sensitive topic of mental illness by cushioning it in an appealing thriller plot. He gives his main character--John Wayne Cleaver--antisocial personality disorder, which is one of the most difficult for the mentally healthy to sympathize with as John feels no empathy for other people. Wells does not shy away from accurately depicting this mental illness, but he simultaneously shows how people with a mental illness struggle with something that feels as if it is an innate part of themselves every day just to function in society. Wells clearly has a good understanding of mental illness and also the talent to write about it in a way that is relatable. This is a good thriller, but also a wonderful insight into the world of mental illness. I highly recommend it to thriller and YA lit lovers alike.
Marge Piercy leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Connie is schizophrenic or actually traveling to the future in her mind. Either way, the futMarge Piercy leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Connie is schizophrenic or actually traveling to the future in her mind. Either way, the future in Mattapoisett is thought-provoking, remarkably well-rounded, and vividly pictured. It is society that has decided all inequality originates with the division of male/female, and so has chosen to have both men and women "mother" and breed babies technologically in a "brooder." It is also a communal society, focused on sharing and the greater good instead of on the individual. An astounding read that I highly recommend.
Christina Crawford's memoir of the truth behind the glamorous image of life with her movie star mother, Joan Crawford, is moderately intriguing, but mChristina Crawford's memoir of the truth behind the glamorous image of life with her movie star mother, Joan Crawford, is moderately intriguing, but mostly sad. Christina vividly writes of the abuse she suffered, but rambles in the rest of the novel about how she still loves her mother and wishes to be loved back. Like an abused dog, Christina keeps returning to Joan just to be kicked again. The writing suffers from these rambles and from a bad editor who left many grammar and spelling mistakes in the manuscript. It's still worth a read if you really enjoy memoirs or the inside scoop in Hollywood.