The Plant-Based Solution by Joel Kahn, M.D.

I love good books that promote healthy eating/vegetarianism, so I was pleased to receive The Plant-Based Solution by Joel Kahn, M.D. from Sounds True Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. As a non-carnivore for 30+ years, I have had some concern about whether or not I am getting enough protein in my diet, how much protein a woman my size actually needs, and whether I really need as much protein as my husband keeps reminding me I do.

I’m kind of a skeptic about books which claim to have “the answer” to every nutritional issue, and I went into the reading of this hoping that the book wasn’t just a load of what I think of as nutribabble—lots of words and advice about how to eat without anything to back it up.

But I was happy to see how well sourced the book is, and how readable it is. There are chapters dealing with heart issues, diabetes, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, brain function, the immune system, GI and kidney systems, animal ethics, and more…even including sex. Looking at the TOC, I wondered whether this was a mile wide and an inch deep, but he gets into each of these topics including personal stories to increase the “relatability factor.” He’s been vegan, not just vegetarian, for many years, which sometimes can come across as a bit preachy and hard to relate to – but the stories really help here, and Dr. Kahn’s personal story is compelling as well.

The second half is really a handbook that includes a 21-day plan (with recipes) to help people get started. This book will be a good resource for those interested in eating well without meat and who don’t really need or want to wade through scientific literature. Four stars.

 

The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating by Debra L. Safer, M.D.

Some years ago, I was the foster parent to a teenager whose adolescence had been filled with abuse by various people, including her father, brother, and even the man who played Santa Claus. Finally, some 25+ years after she left our home, she began working with therapists to deal with the consequences of her upbringing. To this day, she still is wandering in the wilderness of therapy, doing a lot of therapist-shopping and -hopping, and I am still fascinated by the possibilities for treatment and the various options available. In the past year she has begun working with a therapist who specializes in DBT. Because of this and because her issues have manifested in behaviors that include out of control eating I was particularly pleased to receive an advance copy of the new book, The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating, from Guilford Publications and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Dr. Debra Safer is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medical Center. After she attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco she had a residency in psychiatry at Stanford where she worked closely with W. Stewart Agras, MD, and his eating disorders research team. In February 2017, her textbook, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia was released. She wrote this along with three other professionals. This new book, which is scheduled for release in January 2018, was written in conjunction with two other doctors and clearly designed for a general audience.

I admit to having had some confusion between dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). One outstanding thing about this book is the clear way it explains DBT: “This DBT program for binge eating focuses on the relationship between your feelings and your urges to use food…” And that there are “…three modules or categories of DBT skills: mindfulness emotion regulation and distress tolerance…Central to DBT is that individuals turn to food to self-soothe, numb and avoid emotional discomfort because food “works” temporarily…” And the BFD for me:” Dialectical thinking involves holding two seemingly contradictory viewpoints at the same time by recognizing that there is always more than one way to view a situation more than one way to solve a problem…”and most of all “Don’t confuse dialectical thinking with rationalizing a binge.”…accepting yourself does not require that you approve of where you are or like it.”

There were many other things that resonated with me: “…for their whole lives they’ve been told that they’re “too sensitive”…” and “Hedonic eating …involves an increased appetite drive or preoccupation with highly desirable food even without physical hunger…”

Finally, “Another valuable way to use dialectical thinking involves accepting who you are at this moment while at the same time accepting that you want to change….you are accepting yourself exactly as you are in this moment so you can change…what can be changed is the way you react to your distress and difficult emotions.” POWERFUL STUFF !!

I think this book is terrific. It is extremely straightforward well organized, and readable. It includes very specific skills and strategies for managing emotions without turning to food…and it has such a supportive tone reminding the reader constantly that they are where they are and it isn’t the end of the world if they do binge…but there are ways to work on modifying this behavior. Very highly recommended for anyone who knows the struggles with food and weight management and who wants to be healthy, with a healthy approach to food and nutrition. Five enthusiastic stars. And I hope my former “daughter” will benefit from DBT!

Mindfulness On the Go Cards by Jan Chozen Bays

Like many others, in the past when I had thought of mindfulness and meditation, what came to mind was the Transcendental Meditation of the 60s or, if not that exactly, possibly extremely long periods of silence  sitting in an uncomfortable (or, for many of us, impossible) position. When I spent time at the Tassajara Zen Center I had seen the residents on their way to and from sitting, and heard their tinkling bells at o-dark-thirty every morning. That kind of confirmed for me that meditation wasn’t something that I could do. Plus, there is that mind-you-can’t-shut-off thing that I had going on…

More recently, I have realized that mindfulness is more about being in the moment and experiencing life fully, moment by moment. As the author of the Mindfulness On the Go Cards I received for review defines it, “Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention to what is happening around you and within you—in your body, heart, and mind Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgment.” I have read a few books on the subject, and have tried exercises to foster the ability to BE, but it seems like I am someone who can’t quite get there. I mean, I want to be someone who meditates, I just don’t want to do the work of actually meditating.

This set of cards developed by Jan Chozen Bays, MD, a pediatrician and Zen teacher, sounded intriguing, and thanks to Shambhala Publications and NetGalley, I received it in return for my honest review.

The idea is that there are 52 cards, each with an exercise or meditation practice that the author has used in her teaching and found helpful for students who are getting into mindfulness.

The author suggests selecting one card each week for a year. Each card has three components: first is a description of the practice to be followed during that week, followed by some of the possible insights that might come out during the week, and finally a brief statement designed to sum up the exercise and inspire the student to continue the practice.

Some examples of the topics are:

  • Each time the phone rings, take three breaths before answering
  • When eating, just eat
  • Listen like a sponge
  • Resolving to pay a compliment each day

The idea is that small moments of awareness such as these will become second nature and promote a naturally mindful life.

Frankly, I love this idea. I don’t want to wait to review this because I want to get started, and so I have ordered a set of the cards. TBH, the digital version I received is a bit of a challenge because the topic is displayed clearly, but the sections with the possible insights one might receive is very faint and difficult to read. The third section (the summing up/inspiration section) is displayed in italics and is very clear. I expect the physical cards to be much easier to use.

It’s a simple idea, and having looked through all the topics am hoping that the result will be a more conscious way of being in the moment, without having to pretzel myself into a lotus position or get up in the dark for early practice in sitting. As Dr. Bays says, I want to “learn to be present with things just as they are.” I give this idea and these cards five stars!

 

 

 

The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan by David Perlmutter, M.D.

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My husband was heavily influenced to modify his eating after reading Dr. David Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain a couple of years ago. The follow-up title, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, is a practical book—much less theoretical than his previous books. As he states: “The main purpose of this book is to help you put my ideas into practice in the real world and to show you that living your best life is about much more than what you put in your mouth.”

For those unfamiliar with the basic premise of his work, Dr. Perlmutter advocates eating more fat and fiber, lessening the emphasis on carbs and protein, and getting rid of gluten completely.

In Part I, of the book reviews, Perlmutter explains the “what, why, and how of the program. I’ll detail the ground rules, present new data, and offer a 3-step framework that will help you execute my recommendations.” Part II gets into the details on how to use his program, and spells out which foods to eat. Part III includes “final tips and reminders,” plus snack suggestions, shopping lists, and a 14-day meal plan with recipes.

I liked the fact that in Part I, when  he explores the sad state of American health, he includes mental health: “The United States is among the ten wealthiest Western nations where death from brain disease, most commonly dementia, has skyrocketed over the past twenty years . . . 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is predicted to double by the year 2030!”

I hate to call it a “diet,” so let’s go with “food plan.” This one provides 80 to 90 percent of calories from fat, and the rest from fibrous carbohydrates and high-quality protein. Instead of the traditional “old fashioned” meals with a big protein-packed entree and small side dishes, the Grain Brain plan swaps things around: the main entrée is mostly “fibrous, colorful, nutrient-dense whole fruits and vegetables that grow above ground, with protein as a side dish.”

There is quite a bit of information the role of nutrition in relation to Alzheimer’s, including the role of exercise. He cites studies showing a huge reduction in Alzheimer’s for those at high levels of exercise: “Those at the highest level of exercise activity experienced an incredible reduction of risk for Alzheimer’s of 50 percent when compared to those who were more sedentary.” We’ve heard it before, but he reminds us that the best thing to do is pick a routine you can sustain over time.

Personally, I have a problem with eating recreational sugar, but it’s a big deal for many people to include sweets in their food plan. They will be happy to see that the recipe section includes desserts and healthy snack ideas. But don’t get too excited: when it comes to snacks, he suggests things like “a handful of raw nuts, olives, and/ or seeds (no peanuts), a few squares of dark chocolate (anything above 70 percent cacao), chopped raw vegetables, or hard-boiled eggs.”

All in all, this is an excellent book that MIGHT influence some people to change their eating habits. At the very least, it should inspire hope that positive results will come to those who are willing to change. I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advance copy of this title in exchange for my honest review. With thanks to Little, Brown & Company and NetGalley, I give this five stars.

Why Won’t You Apologize? by Harriet Lerner, PhD.

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Over the years, I have read several of Dr. Harriet Lerner’s “Dance” books (The Dance of Anger, Dance of Connection, Dance of Fear) and always appreciated her straightforward style and use of real-life examples to demonstrate the concepts she wanted to convey. When I read that she had a new book, Why Won’t You Apologize?, I was happy to write this honest review in exchange for an advance copy from Touchstone and NetGalley.

Dr. Lerner has been studying apologies—and why some people won’t give them—for more than twenty years, and has written a terrific book describing how much power a simple apology has, and there may be hope for healing even when the hurt that has been either inflicted or received is far from simple.

Sometimes, a botched apology can even deepen the original pain, and Dr. Lerner explains clearly the needs of a person who is hurting and may be dealing with someone who won’t apologize, or tell the truth, or feel remorse.

Along the way, she addresses both the non-apologizers and the over-apologizers, and looks at why it sometimes seems like the people who do the most harmful things are the ones who are least able to own up. She works to help people who have been hurt resist pressure to forgive too easily and she “challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind.”

Early into my reading of this book, I was reminded how much I appreciate her clear and straightforward approach, as she states her belief that “A good apology includes the words “I’m sorry” without “ifs,” “buts,” or any manner of undoings, obfuscations, and the like.”

There are twelve chapters in the book, each packed with clear and specific examples to facilitate understanding of her message. Some of the chapter headings include:

  • Five Ways to Ruin an Apology (this one includes the pesky if, the “non-apology,” and others)
  • Apologizing Under Fire: How to Handle Big-Time Criticism
  • How—And Whether—to Accept the Olive Branch

Dr. Lerner’s website lists Brené Brown, Anne Lamott, and Gloria Steinem among her advocates. Suddenly, the fact that her books always resonate with me makes perfect sense!

As I sat down to write this, I was listening to a news program about the likelihood that a politician might be offered a cabinet post if he would just issue a public apology for the things he said during the Presidential campaign. It made me shake my head and consider what might happen if the parties involved would read this book! Five stars, for a self-help book with popular appeal that will help many people.

Stopping the Noise in Your Head by Reid Wilson

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Reid Wilson, PhD, author of titles including Don’t Panic! and Playing With Anxiety, has written a book with a title that will resonate with many people.

Frequently, we are told to turn to happy thoughts (“go to your happy place”) when the mental machinations seem overwhelming. Dr. Wilson’s approach is different: he encourages us to move TOWARD discomfort, distress and anxiety. This seemingly paradoxical approach may cause some readers to reject it out of hand, as it can be frightening to consider moving toward whatever is causing our anxiety. But his arguments make a lot os sense, and his work is packed with scientific evidence, entertaining examples, and common sense exercises that seem likely to help many.

Thank you to HCI Books and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review. Five stars. This one is a keeper!

Good Sugar Bad Sugar by Allen Carr

Cover Carr Good Sugar Bad Sugar

OK, to start with, I am a hardcore sugar addict, and have been reading about my drug of choice for years, going back to Sugar Blues in the 80s, then on through Sugar Crush, Sugar Nation, Grain Brain, blah blah blah right up through Pure, White and Deadly. And yes, I admit I wanted someone to tell me how I could be like normal people who enjoy their sweet treats and then live life. Nope, that’s never been me: if I start dancing with sugar, I find myself obsessed, craving sweets, looking for excuses to go to the store for my next fix…in other words, this sounded like something I HAD to read.

Allen Carr is reputed to be a genius at helping people deal with addictions. His Easyway program (oooh, I loved the sound of THAT!) has helped tons of people in the U.K. quit smoking, quit drugs, lose weight, stop gambling, overcome fear of flying, etc. and he claims to have THE answer, a 90% success rate, and requires no willpower.

Sounded way too good to be true, but I felt open to listening to his answers. Seriously, almost every book I have read on the topic has given me SOME valuable insight. Well, no, I take that back…I remember reading Geneen Roth’s books back in the 80s and I loved the idea that my sugar thing was really a problem of me feeling that I would be deprived of sugar, so I did it. I ate everything sweet I wanted, all day long, and made sure my house had plenty of treats so there was no question of scarcity…and I did it for WEEKS. At the end, I had been sick as a dog but the craving never went away. I gained weight (big surprise), felt like crap, and never went to the place where I felt like I was secure in my ability to always find more. But that is how much I wanted to be different in my relationship with sweets. It never happened.

But maybe this Allen Carr guy had a new answer! His website seemed to promise something new: “Our approach focuses on why people continue to smoke, drink, take drugs, struggle with their weight or other addictions and fears, despite the obvious disadvantages. We aim to change how you feel about your issue so that getting free becomes easy, enjoyable and you do not miss anything.” I settled in to read.

I agree with him that “with BAD SUGAR there is no healthy level other than zero,” and that we are brainwashed from a young age to equate sugar and sweet treats with love and “see sugary foods as a treat.” To my dismay, I found that (according to his website) his “method works by unraveling the misconceptions that make people believe that they get some benefit from the very thing that’s harming them.” What, I wondered, did that even MEAN?

His answer to the issue of addiction is to “achieve a frame of mind whereby whenever you think about BAD SUGAR of a BAD SUGAR product you have a sense of freedom and relief that you don’t consume it anymore.” Carr’s own experience was as a smoker who had repeatedly tried to quit. But, as he explains it, “one day, a chance remark opened my eyes to the truth. I had gone to see a hypnotherapist…to find a cure and…a word the hypnotherapist used gave me the key. The word was “addiction.” It was like a lightbulb going off in my brain: I didn’t smoke because I wanted to I smoked because I was hooked. I knew there and then that I was cured.”

And that, my friends, was the point at which I wanted to throw my Kindle through the window. My thought was “Wow, this guy REALLY doesn’t get it!!” My opinion seems reinforced by his claim that the craving is 1 percent physical and 99 percent mental…and that the “actual physical withdrawal pangs from most drugs are actually extremely mild—almost imperceptible.” Seriously???

I dutifully read on, although IMHO, there are people who “get it” and those who don’t, and when it comes to sugar, he doesn’t. I am happy he found a way to quit smoking, and I am happy that so many people have benefitted from his workshops, courses, etc. as they have struggled with their addictions.

So, how many stars to give this book (provided to me by NetGalley and Arcturus in exchange for my honest review)? Good question! It does have wonderful information about the devastating effects of overconsumption of sugar, and it does have a positive tone and upbeat message (sort of “you can do it!!!”) so I figure those alone are worth three stars. But the actual worth of his “answer” to me, as a hardcore sugar addict, was minimal. (BTW, I am fully open to the idea that my own personal experiences are not the same as those of other sugar addicts, and I will be curious to read others’ opinions of the book and program. And I hope it provides five star answers for other people!)

Three reluctant stars.

 

Opening Up by Writing It Down by James Pennebaker and Joshua Smyth

 

Cover Pennebaker Opening Up by Writing down

I was somewhat familiar with Dr. Pennebaker’s work through his 2014 title Expressive Writing: Words That Heal, and as a lifelong journal keeper, his ideas have always resonated with me. So I was pleased to receive an advance copy of Opening Up by Writing It Down, Third Edition: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain from NetGalley and Guilford Publications in exchange for my honest review.

As I read it, I kept thinking I should check with my therapist to be sure she has this book – as it is packed with what might be considered technical/academic data. It actually wan’t until I go to the final chapter that I found what was, for me, the most helpful information. This chapter includes an overall summary and specific instructions for therapeutic writing exercises. Although some of the earlier chapters do include various exercises, my own preference is for writing exercises to be included at the end of corresponding so I can easily go back and find the exercises related to a particular topic. But, that’s just a personal preference.

Writing comes easily to me, so it doesn’t seem like a stretch to think that making it a habit would be easily accomplished. As noted above, this concept isn’t new to me, so I was somewhat predisposed to like this! I plan to recommend it to people I KNOW are not writers, but who I think might benefit from reading this book. Overall, I gave Opening Up by Writing It Down a rating of 4 stars.
 

This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick

Cover Warnick This is Wehre You belong

Melody Warnick’s This Is Where You Belong came to my attention at a great time! It was at the start of another gorgeous summer on the Central California coast, at the beginning of the tourist invasion — and we started thinking about how nice it would be to not get stuck in traffic or feel we needed to plan our errands, appointments, etc. around rush hour (as in, telling my doc I couldn’t take a 4:00 appointment on an August Wednesday because driving the 5 miles from her office to my house would take an HOUR, so please give me the 9 am 2 weeks later). I had been looking at coastal towns for places with access to quality medical care, at least one good bookstore, good water, and at least a semblance of social tolerance…maybe we should move!! (Been here 30+ years)

As I began reading, I loved the author’s style: entertaining, open, filled with relatable thoughts about the feelings of insecurity when plunked down in a new environment (including new town, new job, new school, etc.) and appreciate how she is totally supportive of the reader’s qualms about relocating. I never really GOT why she and her family moved from Austin, TX to Blacksburg, VA, but I loved that after moving frequently she decided that rather than wait to see how it felt to live in a new place yet again, she would actively do things to make herself fall in love with Blacksburg. (Thinking “good luck with that, I have BEEN to Blacksburg”…)

Recent studies have found that PLACE is often more important than money – especially for millenials. In the 20th century, huge population shifts took place in the U.S. as people followed jobs and hope. It sounds like such a first-world problem, considering that most people in the world are struggling just to have a safe place to sleep, food to eat, and clean water, but that is our reality: for the most part, we have the luxury to pick up and go if we aren’t happy where we are. And considering that most people in the US move between 11 and 12 times in their lifetime, we are pretty much guaranteed to go through this change.

This book is filled with ideas on how to make yourself love where you live, focusing on getting out and meeting people and becoming actively involved. I think for someone who is struggling to feel happy in their chosen town or city, these would be useful. I kept imaging that I had just moved to a place I wasn’t crazy about, and trying some of her ideas. My fundamental conclusion for years has been that some people just are not that affected by their physical environment, but for those of us who are, no amount of involvement would make us truly happy in certain circumstances. OK, I admit, I am highly affected by the WHERE that I live, but I just don’t think I could ever be happy in a place that has weather extremes, giant bugs, or no bookstores (or lots of Republicans, but that’s another story).

After reading this book, I haven’t changed my mind, but I realize lots of people are way more adaptable than I, and could really benefit by her upbeat suggestions. I appreciate NetGalley’s exchange of a review copy of this book, for my honest review. I’d recommend this for someone who is about to move or has just moved and is less than 100% ecstatic about it (for example, my friend is about to relocate from a small town in Vermont to a coastal community in Oregon and she cannot wait to escape summer heat and humidity along with “real winter”). For those of us lucky enough to truly love where we live (even with all the tourists in summer—just be grateful for the money they spend that helps our town year-round), it’s a fun read and does include ideas that would be helpful to anyone who wants to feel a bit more connected to their community.Four stars.

Shades of Blue by Amy Ferris

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Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue

By Amy Ferris

For starters, this book is amazing. Amy Ferris has gathered writings about a subject that is close to my heart, and the result is a powerful, gut-wrenching, piercing look into a topic that is too often stigmatized, hidden, shame-based, you name it, there just aren’t many positive terms that come to mind around this topic. And yet, people in the grip of this affliction (or living with someone who battles the “black dog” of depression) can really benefit from the realization that they are not alone. So why was I so negative about this book when I read it?

OK, so I guess it really IS all about me!! 🙂

And why do I think this book is amazing? A psychiatric nurse who wrote about this book put it this way: “The crushing isolation of depression gets a few shades lighter each time someone realizes…”I’m not alone. I’m connected to a bigger picture.”’ Thank you for this beautiful and necessary book.”

I couldn’t agree more. And yet, when I wrote in my journal about this book, after spending two full days with it while on vacation, I said:

Only 3 types of people would read this:

  1. Someone in prison who goes to the prison library and finds every other book is checked out
  2. People who are really into the topic of depression, falling into two categories:
    1. Therapists/caregivers
    2. Depressives

It is SO honest, and I found I became seriously depressed reading this book. Early on, I recognized myself in quotes such as “Among the many things that make me who I am is the fact that I am a person with a clinical disorder. I’ve been on five different antidepressants since I was a teenager…” And “I hate taking the medication. The idea that I cannot fully function without it breaks my heart on a regular basis, but I can’t stop taking it. I’ve tried.”

These are things that resonate with me, and I am sure with many people who have felt the slide toward the black hole. (NOTE: I am not identifying the authors of any of the quotes in this review—and confess I am somewhat afraid to go back and read it right now…having just recovered what feels like equilibrium following the deep despair I felt after reading it. Seriously, on the bright side (often an unfamiliar landscape for me), in retrospect I realize that it was equal parts despair (reading about the reality of this affliction) and hope (as I realized people CAN — and I often DO– recognize the “warning signs” and avoid the big slide toward the black hole).

Several of the writings captured the reality of the affliction:

  • “I now accept, without doubt, that depression is purely a result of the chemicals swimming in our brains, and we can choose those chemicals.”
  • “The stigma and shame of depression linger. No one brings you casseroles or calls you a heroine when you’re depressed.”
  • “Terrible things happen—they go on happening all your life, but here’s what I discovered: anguish, unhappiness, sadness, fear, loneliness, and grief are not the same as depression. It can all hurt as much as depression, but you are not paralyzed. You keep breathing. And the lovely surprise of growing older is that most of us get happier. If you’re lucky and have decent health, friends, a roof over your head, food on the table, and something you love to get up and do every day – you calm down. You no longer want to throw yourself off a balcony.”
  • “Sleep, when it comes, is full of nightmares. You awaken in the middle of the night, terrified, and filled with disgust at your terror. Morning arrives and you do not feel rested.”

 Despite being dragged down by the writing (admittedly, reading it ALL in two days may not have been the best idea), I also now realize after pondering it for a week or more, that I got hope from several statements:

  • one writer “found my ability to travel alone to the kinds of gorgeous places I had once only romanticized about: beaches and vacation and…”
  • I have had other bouts of depression, but I have learned to catch myself at the top of the spiral before I begin that terrifying descent. I heed those first warning signs—self-deprecating thoughts and debilitation anxiety—and, with the help of medication, I know I can stop the fall.”

Fundamentally, the book reiterated what I have come to admit: I am complicit in perpetuating the negative stigma that is all too real, even today. Several years ago, I decided that I would help break down some of the barriers, and talk about my experiences. I soon realized that my boss was emphatically NOT sympathetic, and that my workplace environment would be much less pleasant if I admitted to “having problems.” And that, as my aunt told me, some members of my family would not react well…my penchant for being “too straightforward” was not likely to be met with hugs and warm supportive responses. I decided it was all I could do to just maintain my hold on the life I had created as I learned to “deal with it,” and I crept back into silence. I have also learned from conversations with my niece that there really are people (even family members!) who understand and who can both benefit from my experience and provide support when I need it.

To sum it up: “To look at most of us, you’d never know. We compensate so well, we look so normal. We’ve kept the silence. We’ve perpetuated the stigma. “

<sigh> But I like to think that everyone does the best they can to get through each day!

I so appreciate this book…although it may not be easy reading, especially for those who see themselves in these pages, it really can help people realize they are NOT alone! Much gratitude to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my review. Again, powerful stuff, and not for everyone, or maybe just not necessarily at any time (for me, it’s a trigger, apparently, to delve so deeply into someone else’s anguish) but just for the honesty alone, it is worth five stars.