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1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man,
$8.96 $3.50 list($9.95)
2. A Child Called "It": One Child's
$10.50 $7.69 list($14.00)
3. It's Not About the Bike: My Journey
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4. The Professor and the Madman:
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5. A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph
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6. Riding the Bus With My Sister:
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7. Expecting Adam: A True Story of
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8. Let Me Hear Your Voice : A Family's
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9. Electroboy : A Memoir of Mania
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10. Learning to Fall : The Blessings
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11. Wasted : A Memoir of Anorexia
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12. Emergence : Labeled Autistic
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13. Drinking : A Love Story
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14. Girl, Interrupted
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15. Brilliant Madness : Living with
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16. Touch the Top of the World: A
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17. The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child
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18. I'll Carry the Fork!: Recovering
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19. As Nature Made Him : The Boy Who
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20. Inconceivable : A Woman's Triumph

1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
by Mitch Albom
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076790592X
Catlog: Book (2002-10-08)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 111
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague.Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance.He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life.Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world. ... Read more

Reviews (1628)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tuesday's With Morrie
This year for my seventh grade Language Arts class, we were supposed to choose a book and then critique it. I chose Tuesdays With Morrie after selecting it from a dusty bookshelf in my brother's room. Personally, I loved the book; it had a deeper meaning of life that i had never considered before. Some of my favorite quotes from the book have stuck with me like the one, "Love eachother or perish," The book is about a former college student, and his favorite professor. It all begins sixteen years after graduation when Mitch Albom finds himself watching his beloved college instructor on Nightling with Ted Koppel. Morrie has become a victum of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, leaving his body withered and sagging. Mitch visits Morrie one day and what starts as a reunion of old friends turns into the project of a lifetime. Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but the lessons that Morrie teaches to Mitch on their Tuesdays together will stay with him all of his life. I would recommend this book to anyone. If you are looking for enlightenment, deep thinking, and a true story, you've come to the right book. On a scale from one to ten, i would give Tuesdays With Morrie a nine and a half.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Tuesdays with Morrie is definitely one of the best books that I've ever read. Once I picked it up, I couldn't stop until I found myself on the last page. Although the book is very short, nearly every page carries a message. It's purpose is to teach us a lesson; that was Morrie's final goal. He wanted to create this one last thesis with one of his favorite students, Mitch Albom, that would give people insight into how to live their lives and what it feels like to die. In this book, not only do we learn from Morrie (who died from ALS) how to live life to the fullest, but we learn from Mitch's mistakes as well. All too often we get caught up in our fast paced culture that we forget to stop and look around and actually enjoy things.

Mitch Albom uses a unique approach to get his old professor's message out. When I was reading this, I couldn't help but feel like Morrie was speaking right to me. The book could relate to anyone; it covers so many topics from love and life to death and trying to live even when death is knocking on the door.

I highly recommend reading Tuesdays with Morrie. You can't help but love Morrie by the end of the book, and like me, you might even tear up at the end a little.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
<br /> Beautiful and touching, inspirational and rich. A book that not only teaches but makes you feel. <br /> Also recommended: Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart, Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs,The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

4-0 out of 5 stars Have A Tissue Ready
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is beautifully written. It is also an easily read and understandable. The fact that it's a true story makes it even more touching. So have some tissue ready :) . Morrie was a real person. He helped so many people during his life, and now, because of Mitch, he will touch many more after death. I strongly recommend reading this book if you are afraid of death.

There is also another book here on Amazon I have found that I highly recommend on life after death, or between death that has given me a lot to think about. It is called The book of Thomas by Daniel Aber and Gabreael. In their book everything from the suicide, the different levels of heaven, reincarnation, and so on is covered also in an easily read format

1-0 out of 5 stars I'm Embarrassed I Read This
My younger brother had this on his summer reading list and I noticed it on his desk. Seeing it was pretty short I sat down and read it. I think the fact that my high school's English department recommended it should have been warning enough to avoid this book. In all seriousness, this is the worst book I have read in a LONG time.
Even calling it a book is slightly misleading, because that usually implies some sort of literary value. It's about as literary as Life's Little Instruction Book, but far less insightful. Albom writes at about a 2nd grade reading level, in a ridiciulously simple shallow way rather than a Hemingwayesque style. Even more ridiculous is his constant use of immature, sentimental little gimmicks that I guess the Oprah-watching soccer moms giving this book a good review would call "touching and heartfelt". For example:
"He waited while I absorbed it.
A Teacher to the Last.
"Good?" he said.
Yes, I said. Very good.

I would write something like that and be satisified with it when I was probably a freshman, and I really don't consider myself to be a talented writer. The whole Tuesday motif was also along those lines. Even more annoying was I lost count of the epiphanies Mitch has by about the 11th page. Highlight how many times he "suddenly realizes something about life". Don't be materialistic? Love other people? Is this really that breakthrough? I think Jesus said that about 2000 years ago, and most people agree he wasn't even that revolutionary(in moral philosophy that is.) Look at some of his other ridiculous "aphorisms":
Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do.
Learn to forgive yourself and forgive others.

If I really felt like it, I could probably spew out about four thousand of those obvious, self-righteous statements in about 5 minutes.
I also don't even see how Morrie was such a hero. In one scene, they tried to convince you that he was some hero for turning down some medicine that wouldn't have helped and, more importantly, wasn't even available. Wow. Not to mention, it's pretty easy to be so courageous about death when you have an amazing family supporting you. I wonder if he was half his age, alone with nobody to help him except some indifferent inner city hospital nurse if he would face death with such resilience and wit.
What annoys me the most is how they planned writing this book before Morrie even died. Sounds like he just wanted to pay some bills. I mean, if they are planning to write a book about all these great moments Mitch realizes, of course he's going to have them(or pretend to) because he has to write a book about it! Furthermore, it's pretty arrogant that Morrie to think that he had some great noble truths to spread.
This book has several more blatant flaws, but this review has a maxium word limit. So, I'll say if you like reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, and other empowering self-help books that like to constantly re-emphasize the obvious for $20, go ahead and buy this. If you are looking for an actual good book by someone who actually knows how to write, don't waste your time or the 40 minutes it takes to read this. ... Read more


2. A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive
by Dave Pelzer
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558743669
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: HCI
Sales Rank: 1051
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturant to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school!--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David. One wants to learn more about his ordeal and its aftermath, and now he's written a sequel, The Lost Boy, detailing his life in the foster-care system.

Though it's a grim story, A Child Called "It" is very much in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul and the many books in that upbeat series, whose author Pelzer thanks for helping get his book going. It's all about weathering adversity to find love, and Pelzer is an expert witness. ... Read more

Reviews (1362)

5-0 out of 5 stars Touched a place deep within my heart and soul, changed me.
My ten year old daughter introduced me to this book. I felt I needed to share this with her. I think it has changed us both forever. Neither of us slept well the night we finished it. I will never again look at any child the same way. It is hard to imagine where young Dave ever found the strength to go on and on and on. My hope after reading this compelling story is that I might be able to recognize the pain of abuse and neglect in the eyes of a child, that I might be able to reach out and make a difference. When Dave recalls the few times someone hugged him, it almost broke my heart. He wanted nothing more that to hang on to that warmth forever. Now I know that a hug, a smile, a gentle touch, or a helping hand, really can make all the difference in the world. I will never forget this story and plan to read "The Lost Boy" immediately. Dave, thanks for the gut wrenching courage it must have taken to write this book. You have opened my eyes and my daughters eyes.....wide!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Child Called it
This book was probally the best book that I have ever read. In his book David Pelzer describes how horrible he was treated by his mother and how he was treated by his peers and teachers at school. His life was fine in his early years, but as he grew older he became trapped in what he described as a livng hee. He began to plot out ways to survive from not being killed by his mother. He also had to deal with an alocoholic father who although, once was a caring and loving father turned his back to whatever his wife did to David. As David grew older his punishments got more extreme. One example is that he was forced to lay completely under water in cold bath water from the period after school until late at night. He was also locked in his bathroom with a full bucket of ammonia. The main idea of this book is that no matter how hard your life is that you should never give up and always look towards the future.I felt that David's choice of a title was exellent. The title describes in one word, IT, how he was treated, like a thing, that wasn't human. David showed to be a very strong and determined individual. His mother was obviously very disturbed and frustrated. The weird thing was that she only treated David horrible, the other childre were treated just as most good parents treat their kids. Davids father made me ver angr, and it was hard for me to understand him. He was a strong man physically, bu not mentally. Even though he didn't want his wife to do thee things to David he was not strong enough to do anything about it. This book definately made me think about how great my life is and how great my parents are. I feel that his is a must read book and makes you think a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a gift
This author is a gift to us, Thank goodness he made it through the darkest hours to tell us his story. I hope this book will help others to have courage as well as show what it is like to live the life he did. Very inspirational Another inspirational book-Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart

5-0 out of 5 stars A Child Called It.
I really was shocked while reading this book because it brought back the memories of my childhood. The shock was that I thought no one else could treat their own child so bad. My older brother was treated nearly as bad as It. I witnessed this until he moved from home at the age of 17. I would read for a while and turn to my wife or my oldest daughter and tell them some of the similuar experiences that I witnessed. The public needs such revelations as A Child Called It to fuel public out cry for such neglect and abuse. The courage to report is needed. I explain to my two children that there is no excuse for abuse of a child like what was exampled in the book. My oldest daughter even went as far as conducting a book report after reading A Child Called It. Wanting to express publicly her distress over the situation of child abuse/neglect.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Poorly Written, Lurid Hoax!
Several of my co-workers were simply mesmerized by the Pelzer trilogy, so joined in on the reading fest. Even as I read the book, a LOT of things weren't ringing quite true: like being repeatedly exposed to a lethal combo of ammonia and bleach (he would've been dead the very first time) and that his teachers had known for years, were powerless to do anything and risked their careers....while this MIGHT have been true in the 50's and even EARLY 60's, it wasn't true in the late 60's early 70's.

I'm only 4 years younger than Pelzer and can VIVIDLY recall a teacher in first grade (1971, in my case) being extremely concerned about a slap mark on my face (courtesy of an older brother's rough housing)---and this was still when spanking children was regarded as a perfectly acceptable form of discipline. Additionally, child abuse had been the subject of NUMEROUS TV dramas (I recently saw an old episode of "Dragnet", among others) and was, in fact, the "hot" issue of the time. It was 1973, in fact, that the "Mondale bill" was signed into national law (and had drawn extensive attention for quite a few years prior)---so the idea that no criminal charges would have been levied against Mrs. Pelzer is even MORE absurd.

Please do NOT mistake me----I am FULLY aware that abused children daily go undetected and that in the 1970's we were barely beginning to comprehend the depths
of this horrible issue. I can certainly believe that "Catherine" Pelzer was an alcoholic, probably bi-polar and very possibly DID smack the poor kid around (which I firmly believe NO child should EVER experience)--but much of the other aspects were clearly fabricated.

((...) ... Read more


3. It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425179613
Catlog: Book (2001-09-30)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the story of the Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year's journey through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendance. It is the story of Lance Armstrong, the world-famous cyclist, and his fight against cancer. ... Read more

Reviews (521)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Hard Not to be Inspired by this Story
Say what you want about Lance Armstrong but if you read this book it's hard to consider him anything but an inspiration.

Last summer I was in Austin, Texas during the end of the Tour de France attending the Texas Age Group Swimming Championships my younger brother was competing in. That city loves Lance and there wasn't a person in the streets who wasn't eager to talk about the Tour; yellow banners supporting him were more common than Texas flags, and anyone who knows Texas knows that that's saying a lot! Following that experience I knew I had to read this book and I wasn't disappointed in the least.

Having read the book, I can't regard Lance Armstrong as anything less than a miracle. He didn't survive cancer - he conquered it. He proved that a cancer diagnosis doesn't have to mean an end to anything unless you allow it to. This book is a very blunt and unapologetic account of his life before, during, and after his diagnosis and treatment. He's not the nicest guy ever, he's not the humblest guy ever, he's just a guy (who may or may not be the greatest cyclist in the world, it's not my sport, someone else will debate that).

If Lance Armstrong had never competed in another race again, his survival would still have been incredible. But he did compete, and he's sure to be a legend.

5-0 out of 5 stars No, It's Not About the Bike or Cancer. It's Pure Lance.
I know I'll catch it for this review. The book itself gets 5 stars from me. I enjoyed the read, I shed a few tears and I kept hoping that somewhere it would eventually turn Lance Armstrong into one of my heros. It never did. In fact, I pray to God I never meet Lance Armstrong and never get in his path, and I pray anyone who ever has to does survives the encounter. Sally Jenkins gets kudos on pulling off what was a difficult task. How to write his biography and story with him watching over her and to tell the truth. She did it. She pulled it off by writing between the lines like no other. She is truly the hero here. Make no mistake, the book is good, the hero is not. He is, without a doubt the single most arrogant and egotistical person I've ever read about in my life. I wanted him to be my hero so bad too. I have just gotten into cycling and was looking forward to having someone to watch, follow and emulate. Lance is not that guy. You'll read things that will blow you away. How he fully expected his French sponsor to pay him his 5 million dollar contract even when he was taking chemo and was not riding for them, they even offered to give him a contract, just not 5 million and he was outraged. He freaked on might having to sell his $300,000 worth of furniture and "art" to pay for his treatment. Why oh why have all forsaken poor Lance he wonders. Supposedly a boy that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Plano, Tx, but give me a break, there is no "wrong side" of the tracks in Plano. Even though he was only raised by his mother, it's obvious people took care of Lance. Riding his expensive cycles that were given to him out of the goodness of one man's heart, and then he doesn't speak to this guy for years on end. I could continue, but I think the world needs to read this book to learn about this. Lance's story is not over, he still hasn't learned what he probably was meant to learn. I do not suggest buying this book for someone with cancer or a teenager. It's not inspiring in the least, no one can afford what Lance had to get him through his terrible cancer ordeal. And, if a teen reads this, he or she will expect the world to give them everything on a silver platter just like Lance expects. One curious note I can't yet figure out. Never once does Lance tell the world he didn't check himself monthly for testicular cancer and that if he had, he could have caught it before it spread to his brain and lungs and recovery would have been comparably easy. With many pages devoted to pictures of he, his wife, his baby and mother not one single page printed a diagram on how to check yourself for testicular cancer. Seems a hero would have had that thought first and foremost in his head, especially since testicular cancer never has gotten the same PR as checking for breast cancer. I might read his other books. Maybe he's learned something along the way, but that is highly doubtful.

3-0 out of 5 stars A new focus for Armstrong..
I value Lance Armstrong's story, he is a driven and talented athlete who has had to battle through a life threatening illness. The story is incredible but you wish that Lance wouldn't be so in love with his own story!
Humility is the virtue that Lance needs most. Maybe that could be his next focus. I'm sure if he put his mind to it, he could tone down his ego. He accomplishes every thing he puts his mind too..... maybe improve his writing as well....

4-0 out of 5 stars It's not about the bike: It is about the being the best!
I am a beginner runner. I picked up this book because I wanted to know more about Lance Armstrong. This book has taught me how much mental and physical training are required to be the best, consistently. I have enjoyed reading this book because of the humor, the clear and direct expression of ideas, and Lance's candor in his failures and triumphs. I am sure I will pick it up and read it again periodically.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bike is Not Important
There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said. A fantastic book about an interesting character that has little to do with sports and more to do with the human spirit. This book details Lance's early life as he addresses his cocky, immature nature that quickly goes out the window when he begins his cancer battle. Lance is alive because his is famous. His cancer was so aggressive and mature that IMO what saved him is the unsolicited email from the doctor at Vanderbilt that eventually led him to the doctors at Indiana University. I like sports and would never have read a book just about cancer survival but this book was so highly recommended and for good reason.

The book finishes with Lance mentally battling to get back on the bike and on to greater glory. There is much to learn here also but the one downer would be listening to him describing his ideal marriage when of course it has already broken up.

I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK HIGHER. You will not be disappointed. And yes, you will start following the Tour de France. ... Read more


4. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006099486X
Catlog: Book (1999-08)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 1568
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary--and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

 

... Read more

Reviews (344)

3-0 out of 5 stars Too little story, too much padding...
The title of this book, "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary" is far more intriguing than the book itself. Once you get the main idea, that one of the most important contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary was an American living in a mad-house, there's not much more to tell. And yet, Simon Winchester goes on to tell it for another 200 or so pages.

The problem is that what sounds like a fascinating story really isn't. I mean, nothing much happens. Dr. W. C. Minor is delusional, murders a man, and is placed in a mental institution. Dr. Murray begins work on the Oxford Dictionary and makes a public request for volunteers to read through books and find examples of words. Dr. Minor responds to the advertisement from his cell, and is of great help.

Time passes. Eventually, both men die of old age.

End of story.

Simon Winchester tries to fill pages with baseless supposition, along the lines of "Perhaps it was this early experience of watching young maidens bathing in the river that would eventually lead Dr. Minor to the confused mental state that would, ultimately, land him in a mental hospital." After a while, though, one can't help thinking, it would have been nice if this book had an actual story behind it. "Perhaps Dr. Minor had an affair with the widow of the man he murdered. Although there is no evidence to suggest that anything of the kind ever occurred..."

What was interesting was seeing some of the early definitions of the words themselves, but that was a very small part of the book. Ultimately, "The Professor and the Madman" is a bit of fluff. There's enough information to make for a fascinating 5-page article, but it's extended and padded to fill a book.

Only for the very bored...

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting story
This is a marvelous book about the Professor, James Murray, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Madman, Dr. William C. Minor, one of the Dictionary's most prolific contributors, despite his incarceration in an asylum for the criminally insane after committing a senseless murder provoked by his delusions. The book tells the stories of each of these protagonists as well as the making of the OED itself, and nicely wraps up all of the connections, even to the point of showing what happened to the murdered man's family (whose widow visited Minor regularly
for months).

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick read for philologists, historians, and others.
I like reading the occasional historical fact (rather than historical fiction) "novelette," and The Professor and the Madman was definitely easy to get through. One can learn much from books like this, particularly the way normal people lived their day-to-day lives in a certain time and place.

A few things I liked about this book:

1. One will assuredly learn a thing or two about the English language, in reading it. You will learn some obsolete words, the origin of some words, and just get a refresher of other, more common words. Each chapter begins with a dictionary entry of a particular word, some very normal words, some more exotic words.

2. The parallel lives of the two main characters are interesting to follow. One feels real emotions for both. There are a few shocking moments in the book, which stand out quite a bit in front of the otherwise fairly tame narrative.

3. I grew up with the Oxford English Dictionary, and I always wondered how they compiled all the words. It was great learning about how they did that.

4. The book covers an array of themes and topics, and a fairly diverse geography. Mental illness, civil war, sexual propriety, crime and punishment, one can learn a little bit about a lot of issues in the reading of Simon Winchester's book.

I wouldn't recommend the book to just anyone, though. It can be kind of slow, and sometimes one simply grows tired of bouncing back and forth between the two main characters. It is also fairly short; one sort of wishes for more detail on certain events. In some places, the book reads like a crime/detective novel from the 19th century, in others it is more like a biography. It sort of skips around from one style to the next, almost as if different parts were written at very different times by an author in very different states of mind. Overall, though, this book is a nice, quick read, a good plot, and you will learn a thing or two from it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Footnote to History
Simon Winchester has written a very unusual book about a very strange series of events during the last century and the dawn of this one. First, we have various literary authorities in England deciding to compile and edit a massive dictionary (eventually it became the Oxford English Dictionary), which took 70 years to finish and filled multiple volumes. Then we have the editor of the project for most of its life discovering that one of his most valuable contributors was in a lunatic asylum because he murdered someone. The story goes from there.

Winchester is a good writer, and he milks this story for everything it's worth. He spends a good deal of time talking about side issues, as is common with this sort of slice-of-life thing. He does a very good job with them, as far as I can tell. I'm pretty knowledgeable with regards to the American Civil War; the author must tell you of the Battle of the Wilderness to explain how the murderer went mad, and he does so skilfully. The writing of the OED and its contents are intelligently discussed and dissected, and the history of dictionaries themselves was fascinating. The other characters, namely the editor of the dictionary itself, James Murray, are interesting and well-drawn.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is short, but it's fascinating, and I would recommend it pretty much universally.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Accessible
Being a dictionary enthusiast, especially of the OED, I was excited to come across this book. It reads quickly, and has a wealth of factual information and also some fun speculation. The author uses lots of words which are themselves fun to look up, but also has OED references printed right in. I suggest that any fan of the OED read this book. ... Read more


5. A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness
by David J. Pelzer, Dave Pelzer
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452281903
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 1812
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The inspiring conclusion to A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy

"All those years you tried your best to break me, and I'm still here.One day you'll see, I'm going to make something of myself."--Dave Pelzer, from A Man Named Dave

These words were Dave Pelzer's declaration of independence to his mother, and they represented the ultimate act of self-reliance. Dave's father never intervened as his mother abused him with shocking brutality, denying him food and clothing, torturing him in any way she could imagine. This was the woman who told her son she could kill him any time she wanted to-and nearly did. The more than two million readers of Pelzer's previous international bestsellers, A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy, know that he lived to tell his courageous story. A Man Named Dave is the gripping conclusion to his inspirational trilogy. With stunning generosity of spirit, Dave Pelzer invites readers on his journey to discover how he turned shame into pride and rejection into acceptance. ... Read more

Reviews (164)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most moving experience on paper
I have read all three books in the series, and I feel I have gained so much from all 3. Dave, as a boy, lived as no child should ever have to live. I am a single mom and have done everything in my power to surround my child with as much love as possible,so it almost was impossible to imagine any mother torturing her own flesh and blood as "The Mother" did with Dave.. After reading this book, not only did I feel extreme sorry for Dave and all other abused children in our world, but I also felt an extreme sense of pride for him and the amazing accomplishments he has made in his life. This is a must read. You will cry with Dave, laugh with him, and get angry at him so many times in this book. But most importantly, you will learn about surviving, willpower, trust, and how we all have to ability to make a difference. Thank you Dave Peltzer for making such a difference. I kiss and hug my child a little longer and a little harder each and every night because of what you've taught me. You're better than Superman!

5-0 out of 5 stars HEART WRENCHING STORY
A Man named Dave tells the story of one man's incredible journey through hell and how when as a child he endured the most appalling abuse by his mother. This is gut-wrenching stuff, not for the squeamish. It reveals the courage and strength Dave possessed as well as his ability to forgive his mother. Its a story of triumph and forgiveness.

I'm so pleased that Dave has the most extraordinary relationship with his son and with the love of his life Marsha. Dave, I sincerely pray that you, Marsha and Stephen live happy ever after - you deserve it. Dave also unselfishly helps other abused children and travels extensively to offer guidance and motivational talks. Dave you are truly an amazing person.

You think you had a bad childhood, read this book and you'll soon find out what bad really means. This book is so inspirational to not only abused children, but to anyone who is interested in the resilience of the human spirit.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
It's hard to criticize a book dealing with abuse, and I certainly don't have any issues to take up with Mr. Pelzer. This is a fine book, regardless of its topic. If you enjoyed books such as "A Child Called It," "Sybil" or "The Bark of the Dogwood," you're sure to like this one. Pelzer's story is truly amazing and an inspiration to anyone whether they were abused or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent excellent excellent
i opened it up and couldn't put it down until i finished it. it's hard to believe there are people so cruel in this world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cycle Of Abuse Broken
Sally Tremble, Reviewer
In this book 'A Man Named Dave', we learn that the cycle of violence can be broken. He shares his story of how life turns around for him and how he is able to share his new found growth with that of his wife and child. The past that haunts ' A Child Called It' and 'Lost Boy' are the past memories that will stay with him forever. yet his courage and determination to thrive and survive is shown here in this book. Highly recommended.

Recommended reads are: All of the David Pelzer books,Running With Scissors,Lucky and Nightmares Echo ... Read more


6. Riding the Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey
by Rachel Simon
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452284554
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 4690
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beth is a spirited woman with mental retardation, who spends nearly every day riding the buses in Philadelphia. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. When Beth asks her sister Rachel to accompany her on the buses for one year, they take a transcendent journey together that changes Rachel's life in incredible ways and leads her to accept her sister at long last-teaching her to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Full of life lessons from which any reader will profit, Riding the Bus with My Sister is "a heartwarming, life-affirming journey through both the present and the past...[that] might just change your life" (Boston Herald).
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Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Special Journey
Many things in this book amazed me, not the least of which was the support system of bus drivers who were such an integral part of Beth Simon's life as she rode the city buses, day after da,y in an unnamed Pennsylvania city.

Rachel, spending part of the year accompanying her mildly retarded sister on her daily rounds of bus rides, intricately depicts these drivers and their(mostly) caring attitudes toward Beth. It was amazing to her that Beth actually had a better support system than she did in her so-called "normal" life.

Interspered in the monthly entries are vignettes about the past shared by these two sisters and their siblings. Their total abandonment by their mother when she decided to marry an abusive convict was heart-wrenching. But this book was never whiny- rather, it showed the resilience of this family.

I learned a lot about the social services, within a community, that are provided to disabled people like Beth. Her "team" seemed very caring and involved with her life.

I felt Rachel's frustration as she tried to convince Beth to eat better, take better medical and dental care of herself, and to get some kind of a job. Beth's stubbornmess and willfulness were also a challenge to her sister, as was her demanding attitude.

This book is perceptive, enlightening, painfully honest....and memorable. I am so glad that I read it and that Rachel Simon allowed me into her world.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book will appeal to anyone!
Do you know someone with a disability? Chances are, you do, and regardless of the disability, mental retardation, autism, blindness....there is much to learn and relate to in Rachel Simon's true life story entitled "Riding the Bus With My Sister". I have two sisters with mental retardation, similar to Rachel's sister, Beth. Reading this book gave me new insight into my relationship with my own sisters, and I see them and their lives with new understanding. In addition, the book was very informative of the systems in place to support the disabled within a community. This book has had a profound effect on me and I find Rachel Simon quite courageous and brave to share such a personal story. Anyone will enjoy reading this book, the messages of acceptance, enjoying life as it is and connecting with others are universal.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finding Myself
Rachel Simon is a woman in her late 30's to early 40's, living alone. She is unhappy with herself and lifestyle, which consists of writing and teaching all day long in Philadelphia. Beth, her sister with mental retardation, invites Rachel to attend her "Plan of Care" meeting, just after Rachel writes an article about riding the bus with sister, Beth. Just after this scheduled meeting, Beth challenges Rachel to ride the bus with her for a year, but they agree to two times a week for a year. This also meant sleeping over at Beth's apartment on sofa cushions that were set up on the floor. On these bus rides, Rachel learns little "facts of life" lessons from each of the bus drivers that Beth shares her rides with. Rachel is soon to realize and accepts just who her sister and herself truly is. She understands and learns to be content, to work at her faults to make them better, and not to be afraid of what leads her to happiness.
A few things I didn't like about this book was that it was slow at times. The book's progress in dialog could have been hindered by my lack of understanding at the beginning of the book and because it was confusing. Another possibility could be because I was confused by one of the extra books changing of tense from present to past childhood memories. I didn't like the fact that Rachel was shallow at times. Rachel also had a hard time accepting her sister for who she was and was too afraid of everyone else's thoughts.
There are much more positives, than I had dislikes about. This book ends with a happy note and Rachel changes. Rachel learns how to be happy, and camas's to find out that she wasn't the only one with siblings that have mental disabilities. Beth Also changes, she learns that she words can hurt more than she thinks they will. Beth sees how being difficult and stubborn pushes her family away. In conclusion, I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to family with a disabled person.

2-0 out of 5 stars Of a Boy
Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett (A Penguin Book; $24.95)
ISBN 0-14-014622-9
Set in 1997 Australia after the disappearance of the Metford children (based on the true story of the Beaumont children). Adrian a boy of nine, lives with his Grandmother and depressed uncle Rory. Adrian feels lonely and disconnected, this feeling is increased as adults fail him. Adrian's life is full of fear he is scared of self-combustion, quicksand and shopping centers. His greatest fear is to become an outcast like the crazy children from the shelter at his school. Adrian is intrigued by the Metford's disappearance and imagines what may have happened to them. Adrian just longs for love and acceptance, he thinks by finding the Metford children he will achieve the attention he desires. Adrian along with his mixed matched out of control, friend, Nicole, pursue the Metford's case to receive acknowledgment. The gentleness and twisted perceptions of childhood are partly responsible for the rash decisions made.

The novel is written in a clear lucid style. It is not a light or humorous read, but a compelling one. Themes throughout the novel are dark, sad and heavy. This style in third person is suited to its purpose, expressing the thoughts inside a sad young boy's head. Towards the end of the novel the style becomes mysterious and suggestive as the disappearance of the Metford children unfolds. However, the dark themes within the mystery are still continued.

The reader of this novel was forced to like the sad, lost and confused boy Adrian. Adrian is so mixed up that the reader cannot help feeling sympathetic towards him. Nicole is portrayed as un-likable, she is misunderstood and totally out of control; her tone is rude and sharp. However, at the end of the novel the reader feels more sympathetic through the extremes she went to, to have people pay attention. Adrian's Grandmother was also portrayed as an un-likable character; the reader believes that she could have made more of an effort with Adrian. Through her thoughts you can see her reomorse and the self-confliction she expiriences. Uncle Rory tries to give help to Adrian but cannot give advice with the sate he is in himself.

The novel is slow going and the ending was disappointingly predictable, the reader just does not know how this ending would eventuate. The emotion in the novel was conveyed through to the reader successfully. Being from a childs' point of view powerlessness and loss loom larger from their perspective. The characters were all very individual allowing the reader to visualise them. The themes throughout the novel were contemporary and the issues explored relevant. This novel is suitable for young adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars not a Polyanna, not a cynic
I was sickened that someone who "knows" a real-life character in a book would come on line to publically slam her. That alone should make her review worthless in everyones' eyes. As for the educator who was in special education but changed majors - thank goodness for students with special needs! These two reviews showed the polar opposite of the kind of grace and kindness this world needs, and that this wonderful book illustrates! ... Read more


7. Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic
by Martha Beck
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425174484
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 4880
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The "slyly ironic, frequently hilarious"(Time) memoir about angels, academics, and a boy named Adam...

A national bestseller and an important reminder that life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Put aside your expectations. This "rueful, riveting, piercingly funny" (Julia Cameron) book is written by a Harvard graduate--but it tells a story in which hearts trump brains every time. It's a tale about mothering a Down syndrome child that opts for sass over sap, and it's a book of heavenly visions and inexplicable phenomena that's as down-to-earth as anyone could ask for. This small masterpiece is Martha Beck's own story--of leaving behind the life of a stressed-out superachiever, opening herself to things she'd never dared consider, meeting her son for (maybe) the first time...and "unlearn[ing] virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."

"Beck [is] very funny, particularly about the most serious possible subjects--childbirth, angels and surviving at Harvard." --New York Times Book Review

"Immensely appealing...hooked me on the first page and propelled me right through visions and out-of-body experiences I would normally scoff at." --Detroit Free Press

"I challenge any reader not to be moved by it." --Newsday

"Brilliant." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever loved an exceptional child, read this book.
Maya Angelou once said that "there is no greater agony than holding an untold story inside of you." This piece of work represents Martha Beck's luminous journey towards choosing to mother Adam, her son who was prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.

Like many mothers of exceptional children I've known, Martha has touched on the one theme most of us feel reluctant to talk about--that our lives are peppered with unexplainable, prescient experiences that served to pave our way towards accepting a child that a highly educated world often believes is less than worthy of a chance at life.

Because Ms. Beck's Harvard Education and academic's resume brings the reader into a metaphycial journey towards coming to accept Adam through a skeptics eyes, her story seems more credible than that of the average person who sits down to write a book that says "oh, but my child is so much more than what he seems."

Martha's tale is as convincing as it is spellbinding. Her range as a writer is vast--she is both a comedian and an accomplished dramatist.

Expecting Adam hits its intended mark. It reminds us that every child comes into this world for reasons that often lay beyond the realm of human reckoning. It offers proof that all lives have purpose, meaning and dignity. On top of all this, Expecting Adam offers the reader the benefit of an excellent writer.

As the mother of two boys with autism, one who "came back" and one who "didn't", I commend this writer for sharing her story.

Ms. Beck's experiences felt universal to me, and true in a way I can't begin to put into words.

When I look into my children's eyes, I understand without reservation that nothing is left to chance. Like Ms. Beck, I feel both humbled and awed by the opportunity to mother children like mine.

It is impossible to read "Expecting Adam", and fail to see that every life has meaning and dignity.

For all things, there is a season...

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the whole thing in one sitting
Martha Beck dubs her tale "A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic" and sets the imagination churning with her wit and wisdom. An account of a Harvard sociology graduate student from Utah who decides not to abort her Down Syndrome baby sounds more like the recipe for a tragedy than a satire, but Beck is full of surprises. For me Beck's book was a witty critique our success-oriented society, on academia, on pretense and on parents. Beck dreads the mindset that leads our society toward perfect babies, perfect students, and perfect breadwinners, and away from perfect content.

This story carries you high and low over the hurdles and under the weather with Martha all through her pregnancy. You feel the harsh sting of the truth, the terror of the unknown, and the crumbling of life-long plans. Over and above all else this book is a secret look at one of the ways in which life manages to outwit our calculations. The strong survive because they bend, because they stretch to fit the life that chance throws in their path. Perhaps those of us who plan our life events as though they were dinner parties are really weak, weak because we do not know how to rejoice in the unexpected.

5-0 out of 5 stars So many skeptics
It's a shame that people are unwilling to accept possibilities simply because it's beyond the scope of their experience. In reading the reviews here, I understand why people have trouble believing. But, they shouldn't completely discount someone else's experience just because it's different from their own. While I've had nothing in my life nearly as miraculous as Martha Beck's experiences, I've had enough strange occurrences to know that what she writes is absolutely possible. And, there are many people who have had extraordinary experiences. I wish the same for the rest of you who are too closed-minded to open up to the possible. Your life will be forever changed for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars She swears it's all true, but......
I'm puzzled by this book still, several days after putting it down. Can it be true? Is it possible for someone to have the incredible good luck that Martha and John had during Martha's pregnancy? Or is the story the product of a mind half-crazy from dehydration, overwork, stress, and the knowledge that her baby will be born with Down syndrome? It's a credit to Beck's book that we're not quite sure!

Martha Beck is a very smart woman married to a very smart guy. They have swallowed the Harvard message that work comes first hook, line and sinker. Nevertheless, Martha and John manage to get into serious trouble through a sort-of-unplanned second pregnancy. Martha has an unspecified auto-immune disease which results in 9 long months of debilitating nausea. Her husband takes on an assignment which requires him to spend 2 weeks of every month in Asia while still trying to finish a thesis. She herself has a punishing schedule, also working on her PhD. They already have an 18 month old daughter to whom not a whole lot of attention is paid.

This would be enough to unhinge anyone, but then odd things begin to happen. Martha and John become convinced that they "know" their unborn son; Martha senses there's "something wrong," and when they discover the baby has Down syndrome, they make the improbable--at least for Harvard--decision to continue the pregnancy. At the same time some very good things happen--a generous friend takes Martha under her wing and probably prevents her from spending most of her pregnancy in the hospital, Martha miraculously gets her child into the toughest child care center around, and she somehow finds a way to communicate with John even when he's half a world away.

But some things happen that are hard to believe. Could she have been saved from the burning building by someone unknown? I'm not sure, and I had to wonder why an intelligent, pregnant woman would deliberately start down 10 flights of smoke-filled stairs with an 18 month old child in her arms. Could a life-threatening hemmorage mysteriously stop after Martha passes out form loss of blood? Not sure, and again I had to wonder why with her last ounce of strength Martha didn't call one of the faithful friends she had to bail her out. Can unexpected, wonderful things happen in life? Yes. Do people get saved from life-threatening situations they get into partly through their own fault, again and again? Not so sure.

If, however, you can suspend disbelief for awhile the book is very good in parts. I loved Martha's description of her son, and I wondered for the first time about the automatic assumption that every woman over a certain age will have amnio and abort if something is wrong. Surely Adam must have had problems, which Beck doesn't share with us, but the good times are truly lovely. I also thought her description of life at Harvard quite brutal but mostly accurate. I'm not sure that giving birth wouldn't have been a good excuse for late homework even back then, but Beck accurately portrays the way Harvard professors can completely terrify highly intelligent adults--I know from experience. And Beck makes a very convincing case that there's an alternate reality out there, even if you cen't believe everything she tells us.

2-0 out of 5 stars Expecting Adam, Not Expecting Fiction
It's a little hard to access the veracity of someone's magical experiences, but the veracity of the rest of the book seemed to lose me with each passing chapter. Beck's descriptions of Harvard reminded me of the movie Good Will Hunting - where the academic moral was that the folks who are janitors are in fact the truly smart people and the professors are inadequate boobs. But lucky for Martha, she has it both ways. (she's the OUTSIDER - making her smart - but with the 3 degree credential for her 165 IQ.) And did anyone out there buy the story about the Smurfs??? (This was my first tip off that she was inserting transparently ludicrous scenes that could be easily adapted to a Hollywood screenplay.) And the books she claims were at the Harvard Coop - such as "Pre-Law for Preschoolers" and "Toddling Through the Calculus" are certainly not in print here at Amazon. It certainly made me doubt a lot more incredible material when she was willing to fabricate such seemingly trivial details. Does anyone believe there is a daycare center that signs up parents 5 years before the birth of their child? And if Dr. Goatstroke was anything but a character out of cental casting, I'd be amazed. (apparently Goatstroke is the name of a town in Utah.) The litany of improbable events - near death experiences, strangers at the door with grocieries, car accidents, drownings - combined with the obvious factual fabrications - began to make me think this was supposed to be a satire. Somehow, though, from reading most of the other reviews here, people took this book SERIOUSLY. Perhaps like Martha, there is a profound desire for people to believe what they want to believe. ... Read more


8. Let Me Hear Your Voice : A Family's Triumph over Autism
by CATHERINE MAURICE
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449906647
Catlog: Book (1994-07-19)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 4729
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She was a beautiful doelike child, with an intense, graceful fragility. In her first year, she picked up words, smiled and laughed, and learned to walk. But then Anne-Marie began to turn inward. And when her little girl lost some of the words she had acquired, cried inconsolably, and showed no interest in anyone around her, Catherine Maurice took her to doctors who gave her a devastating diagnosis: autism.
In their desperate struggle to save their daughter, the Maurices plunged into a medical nightmare of false hopes, "miracle cures," and infuriating suggestions that Anne-Marie's autism was somehow their fault. Finally, Anne-Marie was saved by an intensive behavioral therapy.
Let Me Hear Your Voice is a mother's illuminating account of how one family triumphed over autism. It is an absolutely unforgettable book, as beautifully written as it is informative.
"A vivid and uplifting story . . . Offers new strength to parents who refuse to give up on their autistic children." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Outstanding . . . Heartfelt . . . A lifeline to families in similar circumstances." -- Library Journal
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Reviews (61)

2-0 out of 5 stars Autism is not a "fate worse than death"
This is a well-written and interesting book. Catherine Maurice's devastating criticisms of the fraudulent therapies which attempt to make mothers feel guilty for their children's autism would alone make the book worth reading.

However, I have three very major concerns about the book.

The first is that Maurice presents Lovaas's version of ABA as the only possible option, ignoring the fact that there are other educational methods (such as TEACCH, Greenspan, or the various other techniques within the behavioural field such as the Koegels' modifications of ABA), which also have solid scientific evidence backing them.

Secondly, she also ignores the experts who have raised doubts about Lovaas's claim to have effected complete "recoveries" from autism, and who have pointed out that greatly improving a child's level of functioning, while vitally important, is not the same as a "cure". I've seen too many parents who read Maurice's book and immediately start to plan on the basis that after a few years of Lovaas treatment, their child will be completely normal. The overwhelming balance of evidence is that as a rule autistic children grow up to be autistic adults. We (I have high-functioning autism) may grow up to be independent, happy and successful adults, such as Dr. Temple Grandin, but we remain "different", and often experience great stress from the constant pressure placed on us by families and society to be more "normal".

Thirdly, I was worried by the way in which she constantly treats autism as a tragedy and a fate worse than death, and speaks of dragging her children kicking and screaming out of autism, forcing them to be "normal". Autism certainly doesn't make life easy (and I work with kids with severe autism combined with severe mental retardation, so I know just how difficult it can be), but nonetheless it's also part of who I am, not a "shell" in which there is a normal person hidden away. How would you feel if you found out that your parents viewed who you are as a tragedy to be cured at all costs?

ABA can be a very useful way of teaching, but I'm worried about people who use it not to teach children but to try to "force" them to be normal. There's a big difference between trying to help someone learn and function better and trying to "fix" them by turning them into someone else completely.

I'd recommend that people who read this should not make it their only book on autism - they should also read a more general account of autism giving information on the condition itself and on various methods of educating autistic children, and also a first-person account such as those written by Dr. Grandin.

4-0 out of 5 stars Emotional and Intellectual Introduction to Life with Autism
I found this book heart-rending, inspiring and informative. Maurice describes vividly the pain, terror, hope and confusion that a diagnosis of autism precipitates. She also presents in a clear-eyed way the difficulties of dealing with doctors, the seduction of fake miracle cures, and the continuing difficulties of parenting an autistic child when everyone's suddenly an expert on your kid and how to raise him or her. Maurice is a devout Catholic and described beautifully how religion affected her journey: I found these sections gutsy and inspiring. She does an excellent job providing an introduction to the best-documented treatment for autism, applied behavioral analysis. She also provides resources at the back for setting up programs, getting them paid for etc. Maurice does not make herself out to be perfect in this book: at times she is hot-headed, impatient and a bit of a know-it-all who has to bite back sharp comments. However, this is real life and I am glad she showed her strengths and weaknesses. If the book has any negative, it is that in one chapter Maurice spends a chunk preaching about how people today are not disciplining their kids. Since her oldest kid is only 7 when this book ends, it seems a bit premature to give others advice on the best way to raise children who will lead productive, responsible lives. However, she may be right. In any case, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Offers hope
I found this book gave me much hope for what would otherwise have been a very devastating diagnosis for my 3 yr old son. I only wish the drills were described in more detail and that there was less religion and preaching. A good first read, but very sentimental and at times condescending.

2-0 out of 5 stars Positive plot, negative attitude
I have never lived with an autistic child. I can not speak for those parents who have to somehow cope with their child's disability. I am sure that this book provides some much-needed hope and inspiration to these parents, some of whom have also reviewed this book. However, it bears mentioning that although the plot is positive, the attitudes towards children with autism are not. I believe it is important to note that acceptance of a child no matter how they are is just important as trying to "fix" or "cure" them. This is a point regretfully absent from this book. Although many of the points made in this book are good ones, they are overshadowed by this absence. I thank the author for writing this book that seems to give hope to those who need hope most, but I warn against drawing all of your thoughts and opinions from the words of one other person.

5-0 out of 5 stars I felt like I wasn't alone
I am a mother of an autistic daughter who was diagnosed a few months ago. This book really inspired me not to give up hope! While reading this book, I would be in tears as to how realistic it truely is. How you preceive your own child. How you go through all the stages of defeat, over and over again! and to reading about the most uplifting little spirits who overcome HUGE obsticals over and over again! This book both breaks your heart and heals it. Great book to give as a gift to those who are an important part in a little persons autistic life who just "don't get it" or want to know hands on what you are going through as a parent. I would recommend to anyone who has autism in their life. Be prepared with a tissue box. ... Read more


9. Electroboy : A Memoir of Mania
by ANDY BEHRMAN
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812967089
Catlog: Book (2003-02-11)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 44418
Average Customer Review: 3.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornadolike rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.

Ignoring his crescendoing illness, Behrman struggled to keep up appearances, clinging to the golden-boy image he had cultivated in his youth. But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn’t have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and tranquilizers and feeling his mind lose traction, he opted for the last resort: electroshock therapy.

At once hilarious and harrowing, Electroboy paints a mesmerizing portrait of a man held hostage by his in-satiable desire to consume. Along the way, it shows us the New York that never sleeps: a world of strip clubs, after-hours dives, and twenty-four-hour coffee shops, whose cheap seductions offer comfort to the city’s lonely souls. This unforgettable memoir is a unique contribution to the literature of mental illness and introduces a writer whose energy may well keep you up all night.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read
A lot of people have criticized this book as being too sensationalistic and trashy. Others have labeled Behrman a self-promoter. These allegations may be partly correct, but one aspect of writing a good memoir is to entertain the reader a little. For example, I found the description of Behrman's art forgery interesting and consistent with manic behavior. I suppose the book is a little light on information about bipolar disorder, but perhaps describing bipolar disorder in detail wasn't really the intent- hardly anyone criticizes Kay Jamison for not providing more info about bipolar disorder in "An Unquiet Mind". In summary, Behrman has assembled a pretty good book in "Electroboy" that anyone interested in bipolar disorder, or who likes entertaining narrative nonfiction, should read. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".

4-0 out of 5 stars FRIGHTENING RAW, HONEST AND ACCURATE
I also suffer from bipolar disorder, as does Andy Behrman, the author of "Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania." Never have I read a more brutally honest account, albeit raw, of this illness that ravages millions of Americans (including both my brother and sister). I've read accounts of mental illness by Kay Refield Jamison and Elizabeth Wurtzel, but I've just never been this moved and frightening reminded of the intricacies of my illness.

Although Behrman's account seems to highlight an extreme case of manic depression, I really felt like I was taken along for the roller coaster ride of my own life. I became caught up in the frenzy of his mania - - the shopping sprees, the promiscuity and the psychosis.

Although "Electroboy" is technically a memoir, fellow sufferers of the illness (or any other mental illness) will learn quite a bit from this account (as will mental health professionals). It's a must read - - highly informative, captivating and entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Coming to terms
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its coverer, but I have to admit I've been guilty of this crime. I was originally drawn to Behrman's work by the bright yellow cover, but what I found inside was far better. The work provided an entertaining look at someone's life, from stories of travel around the world, to risky behavior revolving around sex and drugs, to life in New York City. This book did things for me other than entertainment as well. As someone that has been diagnosed with biopolar disorder it helped me realize things could be a lot worse. Despite my problems with illness the actions of Andy Behrman seem more extreme than I am capable, which gave me some peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can be enjoyed from either an insider's or outsider's view
I enjoyed this book from an outsider's point of view (I don't have BP) and I felt like it was a tremendously revealing look into the mind of a manic-depressive. Probably the life Jack Kerouac would have led, had he been young in the 1990's and been born into a well off family. The author teeters on the brink of self destruction throughout most of the book but always seems to eek it out, along the lines of Catch Me if You Can. If you have no sympathy for the burden of mental illness, then this is definitely not the book for you but if you'd like incite into this world, you'll love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT A PAGE TURNER!
I read practically every book on mental illness and a good friend of mine who is manic depressive told me that "Electroboy" was probably the most accurate account of the illness.

I literally devoured "Electroboy" in two days. It's a thrilling tale of a man who experiences such dramatic highs and lows of a devastating illness - - I just couldn't put it down.

If you're expecting Elizabeth Wurtzel or Lizzie Simon, you're not going to find that in "Electroboy." THIS IS THE REAL THING! The writer takes you into the mind of the manic depressive and takes you along for the ride. It's a must read! ... Read more


10. Learning to Fall : The Blessings of an Imperfect Life
by PHILIP SIMMONS
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
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Asin: 055338158X
Catlog: Book (2003-04-29)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 26042
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It’s a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can’t be sure I’ll see this time of the year again....
— from Learning to Fall

Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living.

Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life.

Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness, Learning to Fall illuminates the journey we all must take — “the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss.”

From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, “fall with grace, to grace.”

With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life’s lessons — whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump — Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Fall -- Spiritual Handbook for Mortals
This book is what every post-modern spiritual seeker is after -- a humane, down-to-earth exploration of the essence of soul, as seen from inside a full, thoughtful, suffering and joyful life. There are lots of references to spiritual "authorities," from Buddha to Emerson, but these just serve to ground the stories and insights. The author himself speaks with such gentle and frank authority that really nothing from outside is needed.

What is special about this book is Simmons' own experience of illness -- he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- and how he has found his way through despair to redemption. Without resorting to any religious "teaching," Simmons still manages to achieve what he calls the chief function of religion: to explore "the harrowing business of rescuing joy from heartbreak."

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning the blessings
After receiving suggestions to read this book, I waited almost a year to do so. Knowing the author's illness, I felt some trepidation about diving into something ripe with sadness. But anyone considering this book should know that the book really is a blessing. Because it's not sad. In fact, at moments, it's hilariously funny. The stories and ruminations about life (and sometimes death), told by a man who has as much cheer as he does courage (abundant!) lifted my spirits as much as made me see the humor and beauty in the everyday world. Terrific book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting
Although this book was about the devastating disease ALS, I found it uplifting because the author had such a positive outlook and an acceptance of the situation due to his belief in God. It is hard to have hope in a hopeless situation and ALS is a hopeless situation.

I became a part of Mr. Simmons' life while reading this book because he lets us into his everyday life and not only his thoughts but also those of his wife and young family. He truly touched my heart. He teaches us all how to fall.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Painful, Exceptable Fall
There are no coincidences in life! I found this book by accident at a time when I was wondering why I was living and if I should continue. I read this book and realized that suffering is what life is about and once we come to accept and internalize it, it's not so bad. Philip truly made me humble before him and I thank him for sharing his deepest thoughts with the world at a most difficult time. He took his pain and turned it around to help others - there is nothing better! He writes with humor and with sensitivity about a subject none of us wants to face but a subject we will all confront eventually. I am a Hospice Volunteer and realize how fleeting life can be. Philip showed me that my work is what makes sense of the suffering. This is an inspirational, uplifting piece of literature without being too "GOD" oriented. If you're questioning life, this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Legacy & Oasis
During a very dark time in my life, I happened to pick up this book, sarcastically thinking that it was going to be a positive thinking fluff ball of well-intentioned writing, but I thought I could use it anyway. Thank heavens my temporary cynicism did not deter me from one of the greatest gifts ever to be in print! This book is a spiritual power tool for anyone coping with loss, a candle lit by a stranger in our stormiest nights. This book looks death in the face with the quiet rage of a human being and the grace of a sage- and offers a bridge over the roughest waters of our lives. God bless you, Mr. Simmons for your hard-earned wisdom and generosity of spirit. May your journey lead to all of the riches you've given us in this book and this life. Just knowing someone has been there has meant meant everything. You have given us a legacy that will last a long, long time. I pity those indifferent souls who find no other better thing to do with their idle lives and self-righteous overblown intellects than to criticize this literary jewel. For the "urban fella" below, you have a long way to go, buddy... and a very hard fall. Only then will you know the value of this book and this man's experience. Marlene' M. Druhan- Author (Naked Soul, Llewellyn 1998) ... Read more


11. Wasted : A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
by Marya Hornbacher
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930934
Catlog: Book (1999-01-15)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 7391
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down and food is greed, where death is honor and flesh is weak? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya Hornbacher sustains both anorexia and bulimia through five lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." By the time she is in college, Hornbacher is in the grip of a bout with anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she re-created the experience and illuminated that tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying eating disorders. Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back--on her own terms. ... Read more

Reviews (306)

4-0 out of 5 stars Triggering, but honest
An eating disorder sufferer myself for 7 years, I was very wary of reading this book, fearing that it would be too triggering during my periods of recovery. However, I finally recently read it, and while it was indeed very triggering in some aspects, I also found that I could relate to Marya frighteningly well. I think that many ED sufferers will feel this way upon reading this book.

Her descriptions of treatment methods that she had experienced rang particularly true to me. Her account of hospitalization on an ED unit was amazing. It seems that we could have almost been hospitalized in the same place. The timed meals, the patient-staff interactions, the fear of facing the dinner plate...all so familiar and honestly rendered. Marya's interactions with ED specialists, therapist, and other doctors are also all too familiar...the phrase "you don't look like you have an eating disorder" that sprinkles the book will be familiar to anyone who has approached their "healthy weight" while still struggling.

I would recommend this book to other sufferers, but with caution. There are some very triggering passages, such as those describing Marya's frightening descent to her low weight of 52 lbs. But if a sufferer is doing well in recovery, this can be an interesting and insightful book on the dangers of what we do to ourselves with these horrible disorders. This book is also good for family or friends of sufferers. While Marya's disorder is obviously of a very severe nature, she exhibits many of the same thoughts and behaviors of sufferers at any weight or stage of their disorder.

5-0 out of 5 stars hm.
i don't know if it's quite fair to condemn ms. hornbacher for her way of telling her story. i can see your point, but i doubt she set out planning to gather up hordes of impressionable girls and invite them into the realm of eating disorders. i think she had to be candid and personal, or else the point would not have come across so harshly and therefore truthful. of course it was dangerous and perhaps even unwise for her to write so openly. but you've got to take into consideration that there's danger in writing any book. discussing drug abuse, self-mutilation, eating disorders..they can all be risky, triggering subjects. ms. hornbacher wrote the book because she felt she needed to get her voice out. she is not responsible and not in control of the way her book affects others, she is not in control of other people's minds. if someone is desperate enough to buy 'wasted' simply for the 'anorexic tips', then maybe it's just as well that they pick it up. hopefully, for their sake, they'll read what is placed before them and take the hint.

5-0 out of 5 stars "WASTED"
I really enjoyed this book. I have read several and this was by-far the most raw.I myself and suffering from Anorexia, and it really left me indiffernt. Many people say "it changed them" but if your at your wit's end it won't change you, rather give you somthing to relate too. I reccomend this book to anybody,maybe it would help somebody else more than I though.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's suprising how lost we can get inside our own bodies
I read this book a few years ago and although I found it interesting, I didn't identify with it nearly as much as I have recently. Eating disorders and psych issues aside, I had a breakdown of monumental proportions and began to read it again. It was only then that I felt like I truly understood (or rather, that she understood me). Marya has lived through a different world than I have but I feel after reading this book that she is someone in whom I could find comfort.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding an Eating Disorder
When I first started reading this book, I saw a lot of things I can relate to with Marya. When I was 14, I started down the road of an eating disorder and to this day it's still not over. Reading Marya's story has helped me realized how dangerous this eating disorder can get and places where I don't want to go (The hospital). Even though I have been in the hospital several times due to other problems, I still found that hospitals isn't where I would call, "Home." While reading Marya's story, I felt, I had a friend on the other end who knew exactly what I was going through. I wish I could hug her and cry, due to the fact we understand what it is to go through something like this.

If anyone doesn't know what it's like to go through an eating disorder. This book, "Wasted" will lead you through a journey of a dangerous disorder. You'll see and understand what goes through an anorexic or bulimic mind. Once you're done, you'll have a good view on what an eating disorder is and how it effects a persons mind and body.

If you do not like bad language (there are quite a good number of them in this book), I would prefer you didn't read this book. Overall, this was a great book. ... Read more


12. Emergence : Labeled Autistic
by Temple Grandin, Margaret M. Scariano
list price: $12.99
our price: $9.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446671827
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 10145
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars This book helps one to understand autism
I read this very informative book and was amazed that many people with autism can lead productive lives,Ms.Temple Grandin is a prime example!

5-0 out of 5 stars a must read for teachers of individuals with autism
Since I began working with individuals with autism, I have been interested in reading works by adults with autism. I believe books such as this one offer a valuable insight into the world of an individual with autism. One of the main ideas I got out of this book was the idea that many individuals with autism experience sensory input differently than other individuals. This is an idea that I have heard from physical and occupational therapists for years, but Temple Grandin explains it so vividly, it is hard to forget. She talks about her simultaneous need for deep pressure and her intense desire not to be held by anyone. She explains that while she needs the sensory input, she needs to be in control of it. I have seen this in my work with small children with autism. I have been taught by physical and occupational therapists several ways to provide this much needed stimulation (such as wrapping the child in a blanket and rolling a ball over them). However, I have noticed that this only sometimes has a claming effect. Other times it makes the child more anxious. Since reading this book, I have worked with one preschooler and taught her words such as "hard", "scratch", "rub", and "tight". She is quite verbal and learns words quickly, but she did not know how to ask for the type of stimulation she needed. Before, the only control she had was to say "peanut" (the shape of the ball we roll over her) or "stop". Now, she can control not only when she gets stimulation, but also the type of stimulation. This is why I believe this type of book is so important. Temple had a very frustrating childhood because she could not adequately express what was in her mind. Many of my students experience similar frustrations, but I believe I can get a better understanding of what is going on in their minds by reading books such as this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars I was inspired by Temple's mother
As the mother of a then two-year old with autistic spectrum disorder, I read this book looking for clues to my daughter's behaviors. I already knew of Temple Grandin's work from TV news magazine coverage.

I, like other parents of children with ASD, hope that my daughter will one day grow up to be like Temple Grandin -- much like parent's of "normal" children hope that their child will grow up to be the next Mozart or Einstein.

This book never told me "why" Temple feels the way she does. But it did, in a very readable style, tell me "what" she feels - or does not feel. It gave me an insight into my own child's cravings for deep pressure and other sensory input.

The most important thing that I gained from this book was the understanding of the power that parents can and do have over the educational process for their children. The work of Temple's mother was alluded to in this book, but it is obvious that her mother was a woman who bucked the conventions of the time (the 1950's) and sought inclusive education for her daughter.

I wonder if Temple will ever realize how very special her mother is, and what a wonderful gift she has given her daughter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Temple Grandin is amazing
I thought this book was amazing ,the only insight into autism from someone who knows.My son has just been diagnoised at age 2 and this book gives you hope. If he grows up to be half the person Temple has become I will be so pleased.I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK to anyone dealing with autism.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but now unnecessary
If this were the only book that Temple Grandin had written about autism, it would be well worth reading. However, her more recent work "Thinking in Pictures" is less a sequel than a new (and better) version of the same book. This might be worthwhile for someone who has already read that book and would like some more detail on some of the topics covered there. ... Read more


13. Drinking : A Love Story
by CAROLINE KNAPP
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385315546
Catlog: Book (1997-05-12)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 8761
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Drinking: A Love Story is journalist Caroline Knapp's powerful, New York Times-bestselling account of her twenty years as a functioning
alcoholic.Knapp drank through her years at Brown University, and through an award-winning career as a lifestyle editor and columnist.Publicly, she was a
dutiful daughter, attentive friend, and a sophisticated professional. Privately, she was drinking herself into oblivion, trapped in destructive love relationships--until a series of personal crises forced her to confront and, ultimately, break free of the "liquid armor" she'd used for most of her life.
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Reviews (97)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Alcoholism Book I've Read!
I've spent 26 of the past 28 years as a sober, happy, recovering alcoholic. This is the best-written account I've seen of how it feels, how we deceive ourselves and others, the struggle of secrecy and denial, the battle of recovery, etc.
I found it very much like a long, heart to heart conversation with Caroline, and was sad when she stopped talking to me. I wanted more!
I loved it so much I immediately ordered eight copies for friends and family, and planned to write Caroline to thank her. Sounds like she'd be a delightful dinner companion! Broke my heart to read tonight that she died of lung cancer last summer...alas, probably from all those cigarettes with the booze.
I find it fascinating that 95% of reviewers think it is very well-written, magnificent,compelling---and 5% think it is awful, repetitious, boring. Can't help wondering which are alcoholic!
If you or anyone in your family has a problem, or thinks they may have a problem with alcohol, this book may save your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Memory of Carolyn Knapp
I was told by my mother earlier this week that Carolyn Knapp, author of 'Drinking: A Love Story", had died of cancer at age 42. I immedietly broke down a cried- which is hard for me to do. But Ms Knapp's autobiographical book about alcoholism was so important to me, my family and my therapist, in understanding and recognizing the thinking/feelings in a functional alcoholic. I had always wanted to read more from her, but don't see that she published another book....and, of course, I always had wanted the opportunity of either meeting her at a book signing, or writing to her, to thank her for her honesty and insight into this problem.....now it is to late to say this to her directly, and I grieve...but I also celebrate the life she had, and her courage and strength in overcoming this most maddening of problems. To anyone interested in a true and thoughtful book on functional alcoholics (of which there are many of us), or to anyone who is in a close relationship with such a person, this is THE book to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Praise from a recovering alcoholic male
I read this book initially as a practicing alcoholic in denial, and then in early recovery. I loved the book the first time recognizing the honesty and courage. The author's style was very pleasing. Now, I appreciate the honesty, courage, and accuracy. I go to A.A. meetings every day, and A.A. is my family now. I wondered, "What could this book offer that I wasn't already getting?" The fact is that this book offered wisdom I hadn't heard before, such as, in decision making, how to tell the difference between the alcoholic alternative and the better choice. I re-read this two days ago, and used it today. I won't spill the beans. You'll have to read the book to learn.

In A.A., sponsors are always the same sex as the sponsee. I wondered what insight I could get from a female alcoholic. I learned tht this is not an issue. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.

2-0 out of 5 stars Alcoholism and Anorexia AreTwo Different Problems
My guess is this woman wanted to write a book about her alcoholism. But her publisher said (just as mine did when I tried to write a memoir about my heroin addiction) "No, no, no. People do not buy books about women who have drug or alcohol problems. It is not considered masochistic or self-effacing enough. Everyone knows drunks and junkies like to have fun, and people only like reading about women when they torture themselves." So Caroline Knapp decided to compromise--discuss the tiresome travails of anorexia ("It's about control!" "I looked at all the women, particularly this one 120 pound, 5 foot 7 woman, and thought about how fat she was.", etc. etc.) and the far more interesting tale of her alcoholism. In my own research (both academic and personal; including many, many talks with fellow female addicts), we have a WAY lower rate of eating disorders than the non-addict female population. Part of what makes addiction such a tough snare to crawl out of is that the addict likes to feel good even as her life is falling down in the process. So she drinks or does heroin to avoid DTs or withdrawal. If she was that concerned with how much she melds with society's image of the perfect female (with which anorexics are obsessed), she WOULD NOT drink or drug, because using one's body for pleasure, not pain, is considered a male not a female activity in our society. Therefore, I am left only with two options: Is Knapp a phony drunk or yet another female addict who was rendered invisible by a society that refuses to admit that women love escaping into the world of drink and drugs as much as men?

5-0 out of 5 stars This book was right on the mark!!
I myself have had a drinking problem in the past and when I was trying to sober up I bought this book and let me tell you, I thought I was reading my life. I am just glad that she had the guts to come out in public and tell her story. I would have loved to have met her. It's a shame she died before her time was up. ... Read more


14. Girl, Interrupted
by SUSANNA KAYSEN
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679746048
Catlog: Book (1994-04-19)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 7893
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When reality got "too dense" for 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, she was hospitalized. It was 1967, and reality was too dense for many people.But few who are labeled mad and locked up for refusing to stick to an agreed-upon reality possess Kaysen's lucidity in sorting out a maelstrom of contrary perceptions. Her observations about hospital life are deftly rendered; often darkly funny. Her clarity about the complex province of brain and mind, of neuro-chemical activity and something more, make this book of brief essays an exquisite challenge to conventional thinking about what is normal and what is deviant. ... Read more

Reviews (366)

4-0 out of 5 stars Girl, Interrupted
Susanna Kaysen, the main character and author of this book, simply went for a doctor's appointment one day and the doctor, not letting her know what was going on, shoved her in a taxi and sent her to Mclean Hosptial, where her stay was about 2 years. Through that year, she experienced many new friends,yet problems, but also discovered new paths and a new way of life which led her to a world of seeing the real Susanna. Susanna entered the mental hospital still having no idea why she was there, but what she soon came to realize was that she was the most normal one out of all that were staying there. The hospital was a very strict facility with locked everything. There was no leaving the hospital except for when the nurse would take 6 lucky patients to get ice cream, but that was hardly ever. Nurses checked on you every 10, 20, or 30 minutes, depending on your behavior and diagnosis. Susanna also had a therapist, with whom she met weekly and told him about her problems and thoughts about everything. Susanna's diagnosis was something having to do with depression, and even though she was in an environment full of friends like Georgina, Lisa, and Cynthia, she felt out of place because they all had seriuos problems and she didn't. All the other characters made the book so lively and humorous, even though it was talking about a serious issue. Susanna was a big thinker and this book showed great analyzation of her every thought. It was so greatly analyzed that it not only taught her something, but everyone reading the book. What happens at the end of the book is for you to find out. Don't miss reading Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. It shows such good -real experiences and how some people just don't have life so easy as others and how they deal with it so well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple
I saw the movie version of "Girl Interrupted" when it came out last winter in spite of the mostly negative reviews it received. I loved it, mainly because it highlighted how women can support each other through the toughest of circumstances. I then bought and read the book. The differences between the two are startling: the setting and most of the characters are the same, but the tone is quite different.

The book is mesmerizing from its first paragraph. Susanna Kaysen uses deceptively simple language to describe her experiences and the people she knew during her 18 months stay at McLean's mental hospital. We slowly come to understand the lack of humanity showed to these girls, and the confused world they came from. Ms Kaysen's spare, poetic prose is interspersed with copies of actual hospital records written at the time she was a patient. The records appear as confused as the patients they detail. They seem to detail Susanna's social interactions and levels of ease with others, as if this alone depicts signs of strong mental health. Some of them appear incomplete and neglected. One is left to wonder what exactly the professionals at this hospital were looking for: mental health or acceptable female behavior?

The book is brief, and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. How have we changed in the way we view certain types of female behavior? How have we changed in the way we view those suffering from mental illnesses? Do patients need to be cured or does the world need to be cured?

This is a remarkable book. It manages to raise awareness without giving in to self-pity. I would recommend it to anyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE YOU SHOULD READ THIS!!
I read the book after I'd seen the movie and was disappointed in the movie. It left a lot of things out, added some stuff and really obscured the timeline.
The book however was captivating, I really had a hard time putting it down, and it's a very easy read. I enjoyed delving more into Susannna's mind learing what she was thinking during certain events in her life. It also puts a light onto early psychological techniques, which thank God have improved. One of my favorite parts in the book is were she starts to see her hand withouth bones, something that was mentioned shortly in the movie. The characters are thoroughtly mentioned in the book and even some you didn't seen in the movie, the funny thing is that Lisa the Angelina Joeli character didn't seem to play as big of a role in Susanna's life there. The movie seemed to focus maybe too much on the character since she was the more practical Hollywood mold, while the book of course is focused on Susanna.
Anyway, it was a fun book to read and an easy one too, if you liked the movie you should read the book to learn more about what really happened to Susanna during her stay at the hospital.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding a Mental Illness
Right from the beginning of Girl, Interrupted the author introduces herself as an eighteen-year-old named Susanna Kaysen. She encounters a session with a psychiatrist she's never met or spoken to before in her life. The beginning of the book is thrilling and exciting because you're not exactly sure where you're going to end up. Susanna is then sent away in a taxi, which takes her to McLean Hospital. It becomes very real and clear about what is going on if you've had similar experiences in life.

She stays in a ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital for the next two years of her life. By this point you really feel like you're right there with the writer. It all becomes very real and a little hard to read. This memoir of Kaysen includes horrible things that go on in the ward and at the same time she gives the readers a very clear description about the other patients in there. In the end the book brings you to a conclusion between mental illness and recovery. This book really showed me that life isn't as bad as I perceived it. I learned that when you think you've got it bad, you might not really know what you've got coming for you-because as you get older the real world can sometimes catch up with you.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is struggling with a friend or family member that has a mental illness. It helps you to understand what pain they're going through and why they say and think the way they do. This was by far one of my favorite books I've read this year and at the same time it was my biggest life saver.

4-0 out of 5 stars Girl, Interrupted Book Review
This book gives a truthful look into the mind of a disturbed young woman who finds herself in a mental hospital due to a struggle with her inner emotions. Ms. Kaysen makes no effort to sugarcoat the conditions or situations involving her and the other patients at the hospital. Everything she writes is honest and extremely vivid. One account in which we see a frightening and true depiction of a patient's situation is in the chapter entitled, "Calais Is Engraved In My Heart." After a girl named Alice Calais has a severe mental breakdown she is sent to maximum security. The other girls go to visit her, and what they find leaves the reader with an unsettling vision of the lives of these young women. Kaysen makes no excuses for herself, or anyone else, she simply tells her story the way it happened. Another aspect of Ms. Kaysen's writing, that separates her from the rest, is her ability to covey abstract thoughts and theories in a very personal way. Using unique metaphors, symbols, and her own experiences, she is able to address such topics as the inner Id, the cause and effect of her condition, and the thin line that divides normality from insanity. In a place that seems so dark and unhappy Kaysen manages to insert light and humor. One of Kaysen's fellow patients, Lisa, while extremely disturbed, is also very witty and sharp. Kaysen herself also has a very humorous side. A weaker point of the novel is that in some cases Kaysen's writing becomes so internal that it seems scattered and is difficult to follow. Another point that may turn readers away is the extremely graphic and unapologetic accounts of the effects of illness in the hospital. However, this book was an informative, creative, and groundbreaking piece of literature that is certainly worth reading. ... Read more


15. Brilliant Madness : Living with Manic Depressive Illness
by PATTY DUKE
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553560727
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 10811
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In her revealing bestseller Call Me Anna, Patty Duke shared her long-kept secret: the talented, Oscar-winning actress who won our hearts on The Patty Duke Show was suffering from a serious-but-treatable-mental illness called manic depression. For nearly twenty years, until she was correctly diagnosed at age thirty-five, she careened between periods of extreme euphoria and debilitating depression, prone to delusions and panic attacks, temper tantrums, spending sprees, and suicide attempts. Now in A Brilliant Madness Patty Duke joins with medical reporter Gloria Hochman to shed light on this powerful, paradoxical, and destructive illness. From what it's like to live with manic-depressive disorder to the latest findings on its most effective treatments, this compassionate and eloquent book provides profound insight into the challenge of mental illness. And though Patty's story, which ends in a newfound happiness with her cherished family, it offers hope for all those who suffer from mood disorders and for the family, friends, and physicians who love and care for them. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars finally! Some real answers to all my questions
Patty Duke's book A Brilliant Madness is the first real good information about bi-polar disorder I have been able to put my hands on! The medical backup informatiom that Gloria Hochman contributes has given me an almost umlimited list of resources to also turn to. I read this book because my 9yr old son and my current husband are both diagnosed as bi-polar, but as I read this intense book I was amazed by feelings of fear, relief, sadness, and anger. I was able to relate to much of what I read and began to see myself which is scary. I now want to find help for all of us as our area is devoid of support groups and other local means of coping with this illness. This book is truly "Brilliant" in both the writing style and the content and has given me some hope in an otherwise bleak future. I strongly recomend this book to anyone where Manic Depression has touched their lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative and well-written.
Patty Duke has brought bipolar affective disorder (Manic Depression) "out of the closet" and given those with the illness better insight into why they feel the way they do. Co-authoring with a medical writer was a *brilliant* idea. We read Patty's story, then we read the medical side of the story. The only thing I found disturbing was, like Dr Kay Jamison, Patty claims a Lithium a day does the trick. This can be misleading when many bipolars have to have meds assessed and re-assessed many many times. This gives the reader the undertone that if you're not a Lithium-responder, you're not quite right. Otherwise, an excellent book on the topic!

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Patty Duke gives an amazing description of what it is like to have Bipolar Disorder. It made such a difference in my ability to understand my Bipolar family members! This is staying on my shelf, along with "The Bipolar Child" and "IF YOUR CHILD IS BIPOLAR" as my top resources!

4-0 out of 5 stars Quite enjoyable and informative
I enjoyed this book quite a bit- it's engaging, entertaining, and informative. The quality of writing isn't as good as that of the finest mental illness memoirs, like "An Unquiet Mind" and "Girl, Interrupted", but it's definitely well worth reading. One intriguing point is that there might be some relationship between mania and Patty's acting skill. In other words, bipolar disorder may confer some advantages to the afflicted, in spite of some of its dreadful consequences. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Help Me More Than My Psychiatric counseling Lady
I`m 44 Yrs.I Have Allways Love Patty From Watching Her On T.V. I Even Have Her Doll With The Red Phone. I Also Am Bipolar and Was hospitalized 9 Years Ago. This Book Really Hits Home For Me. I Don`t Quite Feel As Bad About Being Bipolar. But I Would Love To Give A What To To Some Doctors Out There.I Live In Aberdeen, Washington And There Isn`t Much Here For Help. So I`m Very Thankful For This Book, I Would Recomend This Book Highly.
I Thank Patty For Wrighting Her Life. ... Read more


16. Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See
by Erik Weihenmayer
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452282942
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 45669
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A vivid and compelling book." (Time magazine)

Erik Weihenmayer was born with retinoscheses, a degenerative eye disorder that would leave him blind by the age of thirteen. But Erik was determined to rise above this devastating disability and lead a fulfilling and exciting life.

In this poignant and inspiring memoir, he shares his struggle to push past the limits imposed on him by his visual impairment-and by a seeing world. He speaks movingly of the role his family played in his battle to break through the barriers of blindness: the mother who prayed for the miracle that would restore her son's sight and the father who encouraged him to strive for thatdistant mountaintop. And he tells the story of his dream to climb the world's Seven Summits, and how he is turning that dream into astonishing reality (something fewer than a hundred mountaineers have done).

From the snow-capped summit of McKinley to the towering peaks of Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro to the ultimate challenge, Mount Everest, this is a story about daring to dream in the face of impossible odds. It is about finding the courage to reach for that ultimate summit, and transforming your life into something truly miraculous.

"I admire you immensely. You are an inspiration to other blind people and plenty of folks who can see just fine." (Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air)
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Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Terrific
This is just a terrific book, filled with humor, wisdom, pathos and adventure. The author poignantly describes his childhood descent into blindness, his efforts to ignore it, his initial rebelliousness, and his gradual coming to terms with his handicap. Before long, the reader, like Erik, no longer sees blindness as a handicap, but as one of many hurdles life tosses in our way. It is certainly less of a burden to him than was the sudden, tragic death of his mother, which he movingly addresses and comes to terms with. He finds purpose to his life, he finds love, and he finds friendship and adventure on the mountains that he climbs. Buy this book and give it to any friend who has an inclination toward self-pity, and it may change their life. Read it and be inspired by the resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touch the Top of the World
This is a fabulous book. One minute you are laughing out loud and the next, tears are pouring down your face. The tears are not of sadness but of joy for all the wonderful experiences Erik has had; his relationships with friends and family, his adventures among the cracks and crevices. With great wit, Erik expresses his triumphs along with his challenges. My son has been blind for two years. He lost his sight to genetics, but we had no cue that the family had the gene until his sight started going three weeks before his nineteenth birthday, it only took those three weeks. He just turned 21 on August 2. Unlike Erik, Larry does have the talent of music and travels with his band, Jepetto, around the East Coast. He even has gone back to taking Classical piano lessons. Like Erik he found no encouragement in what his abilities would do for him. TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD really helps you understand the the feeling of blindness, not of the limitations the world puts on you, but of the heights to which you can arise. Please read it, you will not be sorry you did, only sorry if you hadn't read it. I am donating a copy to each of my son's schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Triumphant Life
This is an ease read but surprisingly soul-awakening book for me. There are statements on life lessons strung together like jewels hidden everywhere in this book, from the start to finish, mostly on self-assumed constraints that are common to everyone, sighted or not. I found vicariously the family love, friendship, and community support invigorating. I sensed the humor, strength, commitment, and perseverance Erik W carries with him daily, not just to the mountain top, which makes this book an absolute page-turner. Thanks Erik W for writing this book and share intimately with the readers the details of your journeys and the poeple in your life, we all have a lot to learn and draw from your experiences touched by the top of the world.

1-0 out of 5 stars This man is an ass
I've heard this idiot speak about his experiences, and right away, I'd perceived he was an arrogant jerk who was writing a book for recognition, not to neccesarily inspire other climbers. I was at a conference where his book was touted all over the place, and that's when I knew it wasn't worth buying. Please, people, look beyond the fact that he's blind and that he climbed some of the most difficult mountains in the world, and have a look at his personal life. As one other reviewer said, this guy is a jerk, through and through. I'm not even going to read the book, that's how sure I am that it isn't worth my time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Character named chris at the beginning makes the book
It was a flavorful read. I believe the character chris seems to tie everything together. He is a dashing young buck so to speak. I could read about him for hours. I kept wanting to know what Chris was doing when the minor character Erik was climbing Mt. Everest. My only suggestion for improvement would be to have more of Chris in the book. Otherwise it was a dandy of a book. ... Read more


17. The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism
by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559706996
Catlog: Book (2003-10-09)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 72558
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Once in a great while, a special person emerges in the history of science and medicine whose unique set of characteristics sheds light on an entire disorder and sometimes even on the mysteries of the human brain.Tito is such a person.Although he is severely autistic and nearly nonverbal, his ability to communicate through his extraordinary writing is astonishing.At the age of three, Tito was diagnosed with severe autism, but his mother, with boundless hope and determination, read to him and taught him to write in English.She also challenged him to write his own stories.The result of their efforts is this remarkable book-written when he was 8 to 11 years old-comprising profound and startling philosophical prose and poetry.His beautifully crafted language reveals how it feels to be locked inside an autistic body and mind.THE MIND TREE is the work of an artist.With each page, Tito bursts through his silence into a world of art, beauty and hope. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremly touching
I loved Tito every moment I read the book and have immense respect for the dedication, persistence and effort of his mother Soma. She seems to be a very strong woman to handle it all alone. But I have to mention this that I hated the part where Tito writes he was hit hard until he paid attention. I have seen and heard of many successful people who cannot ever forget their childhood abuse by their parents even though they were for good reasons.This is a very wrong concept used earlier and is not encouraged any more by many many people these days. Even though hitting might prove right for some reason it does a permanent damage to one's inner self.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book that will change your perception of "normal" life
My brother's daughter is a an autist child of similar age to Tito. This book has so emotionally moved me that I do not have Tito's genius to express them in words.

I understand that one child in every 250 born could be an autist. Then it is a must that the rest 249 must read this book.

Simply amazing and I wish a very happy life for Tito with the fullest kindness and consideration from humanity at large - the least I can wish for the author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
I found this book absolutely fascinating. For a severely austistic child to be able to write and voice his thoughts is an incredible feat. All the hype behind it is very appropriate-this is a book that should have exactly that sort of exposure. Tito allowed his writings to be published, not only so they could be shared with the general public but also to raise awareness about autism. A severely austic child is clearly not a helpless case as many people before believed and if there are other books out there like this one, perhaps The Mind Tree will help bring attention to them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but disregard all the hype
As autobiographies by autistic people go, this is a fairly good one. Written by an autistic boy from India, it details his early life, the sometimes brutal methods his mother used to teach him to type, and his life since he learned to communicate. He writes the story about himself primarily in the third person, and there is poetry at the end. This is basically an American release of _Beyond The Silence: My Life, The World, and Autism_ that was published in Great Britain in 2000.

The main difference -- perhaps the only difference -- between this book and its British counterpart, is the hype. It's clearly visible in the subtitle -- "Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism" strongly resembles the "Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic" from the subtitle of _Nobody Nowhere_, the earliest book by Donna Williams. This sensationalism used to be typical of books by autistic people who could speak, and it seems that people have taken longer to accept as normal books by autistic people who can't speak. Which is strange, considering both sorts of books have been around the same amount of time. There is a lot of talk on the back cover and the first several pages about how there is nobody in the world like Tito and his mother, how he is the first to write a book like this, and so forth. None of these claims are true, and other books like this by people who have learned to type using similar techniques have been published, but most of the others didn't have a powerful organization providing financial backing and publicity.

That said, it's actually a pretty good book. It does defy a lot of stereotypes, which along with the others like it, should be a good thing in the long run, as long as people remember that there is more than one book like this. The book is no more miraculous than it's miraculous that I'm sitting here typing this review, but the author has a writing style which should keep readers entertained and informed to the end. I especially liked the sections where the author describes being put in front of audiences and answering questions that he found easy, and getting a lot of attention for it. That seems to happen to a lot of autistic people, and his description is subtle and amusing. Readers familiar with books by autistic people will find his descriptions of sensory issues and cognition familiar as well.

I didn't like how indifferent he was about being smacked around until he paid attention -- a lot of authors, like Donna Williams, have addressed abuse specifically as something wrong while acknowledging that it may have caused some paradoxical benefits, and I wish this book had done the same. I was also smacked around in similar contexts, some of them resulting in things that may have been positive, but I don't condone it, thank the people who did it, or complain about people who tried to put a stop to it -- so that part disturbed me.

The author's plea for a society in which nobody would be viewed as 'normal or abnormal', but would all be respected as who we are, is well worth listening to. That is the most important message I would take away from this book. Beyond the glitzy hype on the cover is a real person who clearly wants to be seen as a real person, a predicament lots of autistic people can identify with. ... Read more


18. I'll Carry the Fork!: Recovering a Life After Brain Injury
by Kara L. Swanson
list price: $16.95
our price: $14.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933670044
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Rising Star Press
Sales Rank: 20091
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In January 1996, a van speeding through a red light ended the life Kara Swanson had known. She suddenly joined the 2 million Americans who suffer brain injury each year. It was like being thrust into a foreign country with no map, no way to speak the language, no directions home.

"This is the book I wish I could have read when I was first diagnosed with a brain injury," Kara writes. I tried to take the information that it took me months and years to learn and put it into a short, easy-to-read book that would help survivors and their loved ones better understand the process of recovery."

Written with laugh-out-loud humor, candor, and technical input from medical and legal profesionals, "I'll Carry the Fork!" offers inspiration and practical help to anyone dealing with the aftermath of brain injury. Because as Kara says, "Sometimes when your life ends, you don't actually die." ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative and humorous story of courage
Kara Swanson's personal story of her struggle with a closed head injury is told with such intelligence, honesty and humor that I could literally envision the experience. It's very hard to put yourself in some else's shoes until you've shared a similar experience. "I'll Carry the Fork" provides the reader with an experience that won't be forgotten upon completing the book. Not only does it serve as a very informative guide to those family, friends, and victims of closed head injuries on the "what to expect" and "how to get the best help", but it most importantly, provides a fantastic feeling of courage and confidence that life does go on and, in fact, can be better than ever before!

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage To Recover
Being a head injury survivor myself, Kara's book, "I'll Carry the Fork" was a turning point in my own recovery. With Kara's ability to put into words, what I had kept in my injured mind, helped me to let go of the feelings of worthlessness. Through her book, Kara helped me laugh at my frustrations and forgetfulness..I learned that to laugh is to heal and see the human side to my perfectionistic past. To read her words, gave me comfort of being understood..and to be understood gave me the courage to recover. "I'll Carry the Fork" expresses everyday challenges for head injury survivors, and changes the focus of feeling defeated by our trauma; to find the strength within us, to accept ourselves as the "chosen people" to teach others, head injury or not, that life is what you make it. Every day is a gift. Kara shows us all that we should be brave, face our fears, and never give up on our yesturdays, todays and our tomorrows. After reading her book, your life, your thoughts and your daily outlook will be changed forever. This is a powerful book. I am a better person because of it. I challenge everyone to read it..enjoy the words of wisdom...then read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for TBI survivors and their family
Kara's realistic, humor filled book is a must for any TBI survivor and their family. I read it and bought two extra copies and then decided to buy one for all our siblings so they can better understand what my husband goes through on a daily basis through Kara's words and experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kara is outstanding and the book is more!
Kara wrote a book that is helpful to those of us who have not gone through this ordeal. She helps us understand what has happened to her and what it took for her to overcome many of the obstacles. Kara did this in a way where we laughed, cried, and rooted for her from our hearts. Good luck to you Kara, I wish you many successes in the future, you deserve them. This book kept me riveted, I read it twice in one night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for those in denial
This is a basic info book. If you're looking for technical information or further resources on where the hell to go from here this isn't the book for you and your family. However, if someone in your family has suffered a TBI and the doctors are filling your family with the "they should be 90% of her/his old self" this is the book for you. TBI, particularily in those cases where the face is not mangled (e.g. the walking wounded), is deceptive and family members in denial are more likely to hear only the more positive issues involved (e.g. "the short-term memory is somehow intact") than come to grips with the fact that lives are never going to be the same. Prior to getting my parents to read this book they believed that my brother, who suffered a moderate-severe CHI would be fine. With the enduring and simplely structured way this author writes they were able to understand that we will never see the same person we loved but must now come to love the new person and that he will not go back to the 90% the docs promised. Getting my parents to read this book has been the most gentle and effective way to help combat the denial that almost tore our family apart. For those of you out there who understand that TBI takes your old loved one away (regardless of outward appearances) and replaces that person with a new one- this is the book you need to get the other family members to read so that you can lesson your own isolation and prevent the near-insanity that comes with the devastationn of a TBI. Recommended for both family and survivor. Thank you to the author. ... Read more


19. As Nature Made Him : The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl
by John Colapinto
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060929596
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 47377
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In  1967, after a twin baby boy suffered a botched circumcision, his family agreed to a radical treatment that would alter his gender.  The case would become one of the most famous in modern medicine -- and a total failure.  As Nature Made Him tells the extraordinary story of David Reimer, who, when finally informed of his medical history, made the decision to live as a male.  A macabre tale of medical arrogance, it is first and foremost a human drama of one man's -- and one family's -- amazing survival in the face of terrible odds.


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Reviews (133)

5-0 out of 5 stars John Money the monster
I read As Nature Made Him several months ago and still think about the impact it had on me almost daily. There isn't a person that I don't recommend the book to. In short it really touched me and invoked such anger at how this boy's life began. I wept several times while reading this book for the pain that David Reimer and his family endured for a significant period of their lives. John Money can only be described as possessing a mental disorder and I am surprised he hasn't faced a court to answer for all the sordid behaviour he inflicted upon innocent children. He used David Reimer and his twin brother as his very own live human guinea pigs. He mentally, sexually and physically abused David Reimer, his twin and their parents. I felt that the author (amazingly) remained fairly objective and presented all the facts he was faced with. He is to be commended for the fabulous way he has brought David Reimer's story to light all over the world (I am in Australia) and so hopefully others who are going through similar experiences can know they are not alone and they are not the freaks but the doctors who perform these infantile gender assignment operations are the sickos. I will keep an eye out for other material by this author and probably reread As Nature Made Him another million times in my lifetime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
This book tells the story of David Reimer, who was born a boy, but raised as a girl after a botched circumcision. The book explains much more than Reimer's story- -it explains the scientific controversy over the plasticity of sexual identity that had arisen just before Reimer's accident, and how Reimer's psychological development was central to the controversy.

Colapinto begins David's story with some background on his parents, how they met, married, and had their first children, identical twin boys named Bruce and Brian. He details the events that led to Bruce's catastrophic accident at the age of 8 months, and then how his parents were led to the decision to raise him as a girl named Brenda. Extensive interviews with all of the family members enabled Colapinto to present vivid images of Brenda's difficulties in adapting to life as a girl. Brenda was under the care of John Money, a psychologist who, in Colapinto's account, almost single handedly persuaded the world that children developed their sexual identity based on their genitalia and societal practices. The lone dissenter at the time was Milton Diamond, whose research studied the effects of prenatal exposure to sex hormones and later development of sexual behaviors- -in guinea pigs. Unfortunately for Brenda, Money turned out to be a abusive psychologist and dubious scientist, at best. Brenda endured enforced girlhood against all instincts for 14 years, until she finally discovered her birth gender and was allowed to return to it, this time with the name of David.

Colapinto does a masterful job at presenting the scientific aspects of the story. He explains Money's background, and how he opened the first transgender clinic in the US, and how well his hypothesis of gender plasticity was aligned with the behaviorist establishment in psychology. He describes how it was Diamond who posed the problem for Money of finding a normally developed infant to undergo an experimental sex change, and how vital it was for Money, his theories and reputation, for the experiment to be a success. Colapinto details how Money used the Reimers' story in his books and research as evidence supporting his theory, while the real facts went in exactly the opposite direction. Most significantly, Colapinto explains how David Reimer's case became an essential precedent for treatment of intersexuals, infants who are born with ambiguous genitalia or genitalia that are not in agreement with their chromosomal gender. Because Money claimed that Reimer was doing marvelously after his infant sex change, many other infants around the world were subjected to similar treatment, and were to suffer as Reimer did.

Money's claim that sexual identity and gender-related behaviors were driven primarily by societal mores was also heard by feminists, who demanded changes in child rearing practices to make them more unisex and less gender-biased. In light of Reimer's experience and Diamond's work, it might be good to rethink some of these ideas now. While it is wonderful to encourage all children, not just boys, to play with construction toys, and all children, not just girls, to play with dolls, it might be a good idea to draw the line at specifically discouraging boys from being rowdy, or trying to draw girls away from their social games. Instead of actively encouraging unisex behavior and agonizing over the appearance of gender-related behavior, it might be better to just observe who each child is by nature, and supply activities and toys accordingly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Tragic story, indeed...
Incredible book, and one wonders how something like this could happen, but truth is stranger than fiction, they say. What makes this story incredibly sadder is that David committed suicide in May of this year, two years after his twin brother, Brian, died of a drug overdose. I can't imagine the sorrow that is felt by their parents... :(

5-0 out of 5 stars Meeting David
Just sitting in the diner this morning, leafing through a local (...) newspaper, I saw the obituary for David Reimer, once Brenda, once Bruce. Vaguely familiar with the case, but not having read the book, I was still immediately saddened by his death. An hour later, book in hand, I sat to read a compelling book about the unfounded theories of a doctor that led to the tragic life of Reimer, "As Nature Made Him".

The book, penned by Rolling Stone scribe John Colapinto, recounts the horrific, and I mean horrific, childhood of Bruce Reimer, having survived a botched circumcision, only to be forced to live as a girl by two well-intentioned yet ill-informed parents. Now Brenda, his life bascially becomes a living hell, dressing and acting against his very nature. Even worse, he is forced to undergo bizarre and irrational questioning by supervising doctor John Money that literally made my stomach turn.

Colapinto's book moves fast, very fast, through David's life, making for a quick read. Yet the speed in which you can read this book in no way detracts from its central messages. David comes out of the whole ordeal a wounded survivor, possibly an inspiration to others who might befall the same fate. And yet, his demons caught up with him, causing his recent suicide.

Perhaps none of this would have happened if that one failed circumcision never occured. Or if his mother happened to miss a television special with the notorious Dr. Money on it. But it did, and the tragedy of it all loomed over this work. We simply cannot afford, as a society, to play with people's lives for the sake of advancing careers or prestige or fame. People are much too important for that. Let David's life and death be an example, so that this simply will never, ever happen again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Tragic
'As Nature Made Him' is the horrifying true story of David Reimer, who lost his penis as an infant after a botched circumcision. His parents, only under-educated teenagers at the time, believed in the expertise of John Money at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Money told them the best course was to castrate the baby and raise him as a girl, that nurture was more important than nature; gender could be changed with willpower, surgery and hormone treatments. The book recounts Brenda's lonely, mixed-up childhood and the devastating effect it had on the entire family. I was filled with rage at Dr. Money, who only wanted to promote his theories and stroke his own ego, no matter what the cost to patients or their families. This book is doubly devastating after hearing the news that David Reimer (formerly Brenda) had killed himself in May, 2004 at the age of 38. ... Read more


20. Inconceivable : A Woman's Triumph over Despair and Statistics
by JULIA INDICHOVA
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767908201
Catlog: Book (2001-10-09)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 67514
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A memoir of hope for the thousands of women struggling with infertility, from one who beat the odds by simply tuning in to her body and tapping her well of sheer determination.

At a time when more and more women are trying to get pregnant at increasingly advanced ages, fertility specialists and homeopathic researchers boast endless treatment options. But when Julia Indichova made the rounds of medical doctors and nontraditional healers, she was still unable to conceive a child. It was only when she forsook their financially and emotionally draining advice, turning inward instead, that she finally met with reproductive success. Inconceivable recounts this journey from hopeless diagnoses to elated motherhood.

Anyone who has faced infertility will relate to Julia’s desperate measures: acupuncture, unidentifiable black-and-white pellets, herb soup, foul-smellingfruit, even making love on red sheets. Five reproductive endocrinologists told her that there was no documented case of anyone in her hormonal condition getting pregnant, forcing her to finally embark on her own intuitive regimen. After eight caffeine-free, nutrient-rich, yoga-laden months, complemented by visualization exercises, Julia received amazing news; incredibly, she was pregnant. Nine months later she gave birth to a healthy girl.

Unlike the many infertility books that take a clinical “how to” approach, Inconceivable simply professes the wisdom of giving expert status back to the patient. Julia’s self-discovery, and her ability to see her body as an ally once again, yield a beautiful message about the importance of honoring the body’s innate powers, and the power of life itself.


From the eBook edition.
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Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for anyone struggling with infertility.
This book changed my perspective about my ability to conceive. Ms. Indichova shares her unique experiences and gives hope to anyone who has had to deal with the often myopic and discouraging world of reproductive medicine. After reading "Inconceivable" I became more aware of my body and ways to naturally increase my fertility. I never felt better than when I was trying to get pregnant naturally! I now have a 4 month old son (conceived naturally), and couldn't be more thrilled. This book started me on my journey to motherhood, and I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a wonderful book that seamlessly combines an inspiring personal story with detailed, practical advice on conceiving and living a healthier life in general. I am ordering my third copy because I have given this book away twice! Through the author's experience, the reader learns about diet, exercise, stress, health supplements, and medical treatments, and how all of these relate to fertility as well as overall quality of life. Great for older women trying to conceive, but I am young and read this book while I was trying to conceive (with no infertility problems) and found it entertaining and helpful. A sensitive, useful book!

1-0 out of 5 stars Helped me beat myself up more
First, let me say that I'm glad that the author had a success story.

But, let's face it. The reality is that not all of us will be so lucky. It is almost unfair to suggest that by doing all the things that she did, we can have a baby too. It's not that simple. My husband and I have been trying for **nine** years. No live births yet. I read the book and just started beating myself up for working full-time, for not doing yoga, for not taking herbs, not relaxing enough, whatever. I am sorry to say that regretted this purchase and am giving my copy away.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read!
I started reading this book as soon as it arrived and finished it in two days. I agree that diet, mind and exercise play a vital role in infertility. This book has given me inspiration to continue to improve myself in hopes that I will eventually conceive and carry a child to term.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiration!
Far from adopting the attitude that "all infertility doctors are jerks and out to take their patients' money" as one reviewer asserts, Indichova sought alternatives when her doctors gave her no hope of conceiving with her own eggs. In conjunction with adopting a myriad of lifestyle, dietary and other changes, Indichova continued to periodically assess her medical condition with conventional Western doctors. In fact, if this reviewer had really read the book carefully, he/she would have remembered that Indichova had an appointment with yet another RE to discuss the viability of an ART procedure based her decreasing FSH levels on the day that she learned she had beat the odds and conceived her much-wanted second child!

Some of the reviewers seem to have a negative attitude about anything that doesn't fall within the strictures of conventional Western medicine and thereby assign the corrollary attitude (incorrectly!) to Indichova (that she is into "hocus pocus" and "wacko" stuff and disparages Western medicine (she does not).

I will agree with the reviewers who've noted that this may be a tough book to swallow for those infertility patients who are struggling with primary infertility *and* have never conceived any children. Indichova suffered secondary infertility, and until I emotionally reached the point where I desperately want a 2nd child (my first miracle baby was IVF 3 years ago), I too would have had little sympathy for someone in Indichova's position. My perspective now is definitely different, but women who've never conceived any children should be forewarned of Indichova's situation.

I've been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, and though my FSH numbers aren't high, I've been largely written off as a lost cause by Western medicine. I have found new hope and inspiration in reading Indichova's story, and I'm grateful that she wrote this wonderful account. I'm certainly willing to give some or most of her ideas a try! I've adopted many of her suggestions over the last few weeks and I already feel better, regardless of whether my body is producing a good egg this cycle. True that she has no scientific backup to support what she did ... maybe all those dietary and lifestyle changes did absolutely nothing toward her second pregnancy. But maybe they did. Maybe they did.

This review has been edited in June 2003 to say that I am now 12 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child, conceiving 3 months after I adopted many of Indichova's suggested dietary and lifestyle changes. Thanks for the inspiration! ... Read more


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