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Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders

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As a teacher of very young children, I am creating relationships with families: children, their parents and caregivers, other relatives. Because their children are still young, most of the parents are relatively new to figuring out what it means to be a parent. Many didn't know that it wouldn't always be easy. Reading Stuck in the Middle with You, is like sitting with Jennifer Finney Boylan, a parent, who is transgender, and talking about parenting. We recently had a parent meeting at my school, and the topic of discussion was "understanding gender roles." The context is preschool. I want to give those wonderful parents this book and tell them that the princess and superhero play that they are so worried about is okay, it's all part of figuring out who they really are. It is simple and it is complex. I loved this book. It is simple and it is complex.
Still Alice

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This is one of the best books I have read in a while. It is powerful, terrifying, heartbreaking, and wonderful. Alice's story of her progressive early onset Alzheimers is told from her own point of view. I felt her confusion, frustration, and fear deeply. She fights this disease that has no cure, and questions her selfhood. This story is brutally honest, never sappy or trite.
Farewell, Dorothy Parker

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Before reading Farewell, Dorothy Parker, I really didn't know a lot about Dorothy Parker other than her reputation as a wisecracker. This story was a lot of fun to read, and makes me want to read more from both Dorothy Parker and Ellen Meister
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

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I kind of put off reading this book because I don't like feeling manipulated emotionally by a story of adversity. Liz Murray tells her story without sentimentality or self pity and I am amazed and heartened by the resilience she demonstrates. I especially appreciated her honesty about her feelings and understandings. Very well written!
The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Dru

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Okay, this book appears to be well researched and makes a case for rethinking the use of statin drugs for women with high cholesterol. It inspired me to make some other changes in my life, that I have long known I should, to help lower my cholesterol, so that I hopefully will not need to make a decision about statins, and risk the side effects.
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

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I didn't like this book as much as Nickel and Dimed. I felt as if Ehrenreich made some strange choices in trying to replicate a white collar job search. At times she seemed to keep doing the same things over and over, even though they were ineffective. Her conclusions were insightful and valuable.
Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.

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Unplugged Play is a fabulous collection of simple games for young toddlers through school age children. Many use no materials at all, or very simple materials that you really do already have on hand. I bought the book for some quick ideas in my preschool classroom, and am considering giving it to the parents of my young grandchildren. All of the ideas promote imagination, invention, interaction, and fun.
Minding Ben: A Novel

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Grace leaves her predictable island life in Trinidad to come to New York when she is only 16. She is on her own from the start, when the cousin who was supposed to meet her upon arrival, never shows. Grace is both innocent and mature. She has strong ethical sense, which really defines the way she lives. She takes a job as a nanny, working for low pay for an unkind woman, her kind of sleazy husband and their delightful child, Ben. Although they do not treat her well, Grace never sinks to their level.It's a pretty good book if you want something light to read.
The Red Thread

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Although I have been reading and enjoying Ann Hood's books for years, I wasn't sure I would be interested in this one. Wrong! I loved it. It is two compelling stories: the stories of the couples choosing to adopt baby girls from China, and the stories of those baby girls and the mothers who have given them up. As always it is well written and the characters well developed. I thought I wouldn't be able to keep everybody straight, but they became individuals I wanted to figure out. I will continue to look forward to reading Ann Hoods books.
Room: A Novel

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Really well written. It took me 30 or 40 pages to get comfortable with the style, and then I found myself analyzing it to decide if it was true to a five year olds language development and conceptual thinking. I found myself really intrigued with thinking about how a young child would think, given a world that is only eleven feet square. In the second half I found myself thinking about how that same five year old could make sense of the world. Donoghue does a masterful job of getting inside a young child's mind.
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