Book Reviews

Guest Blogger: Author of "Never Marry a Momma’s Boy and 62 other men to avoid like the plague!"

Thank you for allowing me to do a guest post on your blog!  I am very excited to have this opportunity!

I have recently published a book titled “Never Marry a Momma’s  Boy and 62 other men to avoid like the plague!”   This book deals with types of men and the problems they automatically bring to a relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong-I really like men-I have been married 4 times (yes, four-I am the eternal optimist!).  Men can be interesting creatures-they see the world differently than women, have different interests, and can be fun to be around (not to mention the sex thing!). 

But “Being around” a man and marrying him are two different things!  Marriage changes everything-you are stuck with the whole person, not just the fun parts!

Men and women are very different (in case you haven’t noticed!) Men tend to be shallower and more rooted in the moment.  Women tend to be more introspective, caring, and nurturing.  We plan more for the future, and just generally have a much deeper nature in all ways.  It makes me laugh that most of the famous philosophers were men-the women were probably at home caring for the family and guiding him in his deep, deep thoughts (that he got credit for!)  Anyway, back to our topic…

Some men are genuinely wonderful people (in some ways). Sometimes you would swear this same man had the brains of a nit- and just about as much compassion and understanding!

 With all this said, many categories of men come with predictable problems, not just because of the man.  Certain problems are just inherent with different habits, families, personalities, or occupations.

This book has been the result of years of observations made as a Public Health Nurse, also working in the ER, Labor and Delivery and teaching Psychology.  As the years passed, I noticed, as many of you probably have also, that many men tend to fall into categories, with each category having its own set of problems.

This book was triggered by an event at work-the Momma’s  Boy of a co-worker was engaged.  Looking at the invitation sent to our office(with a lovely picture of the couple) was a horrifying experience-I saw myself years earlier, and knew exactly what kind of hell that poor girl was going to marry into!  That started a cascade of thoughts about types of men to avoid.

At around the same time I emailed an author about a book of hers that I loved, mentioning that I liked to write.  She said “Only you can write your book.”

Well, this book took over my life-I would dream of types of men-and wake up to write them down.  In the bathtub, types would pop into my mind, and I would scribble them down as soon as I stepped out.  I wanted to be done, but kept thinking of different types. 

I felt that if I could save ONE woman from a bad marriage, then I would be happy!

So here I am, sharing this on your blog-I hope it helps someone, or at least makes you laugh!  If you read this book, please email me your thoughts at susanconner99@gmail.com-I would love to hear from you!

Here is the link to my book:  “Never Marry a Momma’s Boy, and 62 other men to avoid like the plague!”

 


Book Review: Finding a Man for Sylvia

A friend and fellow writer, Margaret Lesh, has just published a wonderful book: Finding a Man for Sylvia. In the past I have reviewed books when I was approached; in this case, I approached her and told her that I would review her book and recommend it because I loved it so much. Five-star read recommendation! It's available on Kindle, but I think that there's a Kindle cloud option, which means that you can download it for any device, even a laptop. (Check this out, though, I may be wrong.) 

I absolutely love the world that Margaret Lesh has created in Finding a Man for Sylvia. I wish I could dive into the book (and I did—I couldn’t put it down) and have the heroine, Julia Hawthorne-Florez, pour a margarita or two for me and then find a match for me! I’d move to LA in a minute. Julia is truly a heroic character, in the way that women see other women as heroines for their depth of character, perception, and fun.

This book is a charm. The writing is wonderful, the characters, from the clueless Ted to the powerhouse Lisa, are just the right amount of over-the-top to be entertaining and believable. But it’s not just about the characters, there are real insights to be garnered from Julia, who shines as the woman you want to be friends with. While she might ask, “Why do some people have such a hard time finding love?” as she tries to understand why the people she loves can’t find love, and why she is compelled to fix that by matchmaking, she also has great confidence to follow her heart. She has great insight into herself; as she thinks of her husband, the lovely Javier (I’m hoping that there’s a real Javier I can meet), “In that moment, I felt grateful for everything, but perhaps most of all, I felt gratitude that he’d saved me from a life of searching, disappointment, and loneliness. I’m an acquired taste, I know this, not a person easy to live with, let alone put up with for any appreciable amount of time.”

Finding a Man for Sylvia is the essence of a good read: interesting characters, plot that keeps moving and focuses on providing valuable insights into people, and on top of it all—lots of good food!


Appreciating Teacher Appreciation Week

I know that it’s Teacher Appreciation Week because there’s free food at school. Last week, in preparation for the big event, we were feted with, as one colleague put it, mayonnaise-five-ways. Okay, there was pulled pork to go with the mayonnaise salads, but still it was a July 4th meal two months early. We’re professionals and sadly/gladly, we were pleased not to eat our Lean Cuisines and leftovers one day during our lunch half-hour. This week, so far we have had a lunchtime barbeque, donuts, cake on a stick, a Costco cookie, and coffee. (I must admit, coffee brought to me on a cart was quite the treat.) Not that I don’t mind all the food-based treats, but I wonder if there is another way to show appreciation for teachers besides with food?

Here are some ideas.

  1. Each and every student will say at least one nice thing to each of his/her teachers. A few suggestions popped into my head. “That was an interesting lesson, thank you.” “Now I get it, thank you.” “I’m sorry that I didn’t do a good job on the assignment, but I have redone it, without expecting a higher grade but just to show you what I am capable of and what you have taught me that I am capable of. Thank you” “You look lovely today, as always.” “You are the best teacher” (this can be said, without any irony or contradiction, to every teacher).
  2. Each and every parent, no teamwork here, must write a Thank You note to his or her children’s teachers—for every single teacher of every single child. To do this each parent must know the name of his/her child’s teachers, must know the subject the teacher teaches, and must know some specifics that can be mentioned in the note. This information could be gleaned from your child. Surely, writing the note is something all parents know how to do since they have told their children, on various occasions, to write Thank You notes.
  3. All parents and students will refrain from sending any emails that are thinly-disguised or not even vaguely-disguised rants at a teacher, and if any are sent, they will certainly not be CC-ed to assistant principals, principals, or superintendents. Honestly, you can assume that it is not the teacher’s fault that your child is failing, and it is not the teacher’s fault that your child is not doing his/her work and it is not the teacher’s fault that your child plagiarized a paper. Generally when a child is not doing his or her work, it's because things are not quite right at home--so parents, look to yourselves before you start blaming teachers.
  4. For the entire week, parents would need to help their children with their homework. Not to do it for them, but to sit there and explain  c a l m l y  what he didn’t get at school. And if, for whatever reason, he still doesn’t understand what you’re explaining ever-so-thoroughly and effectively, figure out another way of getting the idea across so that he can feel good about himself and his learning. For each of the week’s sessions you will never voice your frustration, nor will you express your frustration by leaving the room (other than to go to the bathroom), until the learning is done. At absolutely no point will you use the S-word (as in stupid) or the L-word (as in lazy).
  5. “If you can read, thank a teacher.” I’ve seen that bumper sticker—and I think it holds true. Every person in this country should acknowledge, in some way (see above and below) the positive impact that teacher’s have had on his/her life. (Yes, there are teachers who are not good, as there are parents who are not good, but who takes away a Mother’s Day Card from a mother or a Father’s Day card from a father? Positive thinking, we are positive-thinking.)
  6. For one week let us teachers teach without the dual requirement to entertain the masses. This is not stand-up comedy and this is not a sitcom. (Wait, it probably is a sitcom. Every single classroom could easily be the basis for a sitcom.) Grammar is not fun. Writing essays is not the most enjoyable of activities. SO WHAT! It needs to be done. There are skills that need to be mastered, and not just for tests that dumb-down, but for life that invites possibilities. Do it! Do your work. Yes, it’s called work—school work and home work. But if kids would try for just a moment to focus on the learning—on what the teacher has to teach—and not on the fact that they would rather be connected to some gadget, learning may occur.
  7. Pay a one-day babysitting fee for your child. Let’s assume a babysitter these days makes $11 an hour and a school day is 7.5 hours, so $82.50 would be owed for each student to be paid to a teachers’ fund at your child’s school. This money could then be used at the teachers’ discretion; of course, a professional community would be established to decide how to use the funds. Luxuries such as coffee machines, microwaves, refrigerators for teacher workrooms, or even “teacher chairs” that don’t look like they trickled down from the Principal’s Conference Room two principals ago could be considered.
  8. And one thing that did happen this week that I truly appreciated: students wrote nice thank you comments on paper apples and gave them out to teachers. Too bad that most had exactly the same comments so there was a hint of insincerity, and that mine had a misused contraction. But here, at least, there were no calories involved and there seemed to be an honest note of appreciation. THANK YOU STUDENTS!

 

 


Book Review: Love for Grown-ups

Book Review: Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying for Life When You’ve Already Got a Life by Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Trish Rabe

A big recommendation goes out to women and men to read Love for Grown-ups. This book is about how we, the “over the hill” folks, are not so over the hill, or once we’ve all made it over the hill there’s a sensitivity and kindness that weren’t there on the other side—or at least there’s the acknowledgement that that’s what it’s all about: being loving, finding love, continuing to be loving, and finally being maturely loved (as in loved and respected for all one’s qualities—and personality quirks). What’s so wonderful about this time of life, as the Garter Brides describe in their book, is that both women and men have decided that kindness, consideration, and good sex are all things to want, to search for—to deserve and to expect. No longer are we to believe those adages about women over 40 and their chances of marrying being akin to winning a Vogue make-over. No, we are to listen and heed all the happily-ever-after stories of the many midlife women they have compiled in this book, including the three authors’ lovely stories, to make us know that we are the winning ticket! 

This book is listed as being a Self Help book, but as a non self-help book fan, I can say that this is not a simplistic do this and this will happen type of book. It’s more that Blumenthal Jacobs, Lampl, and Rabe laid out their stories and invited the reader into the lives of so many other women so that the reader can think that “you know, maybe it could happen to me too, maybe I can still be happy in a relationship.” And that, truly, is more honest help than I got from friends who just tried to pick up my spirits saying that I deserve happiness (which is true for all of us). But that’s not the same as showing how it has happened and how it could happen to me.

And now that I am in a relationship, although I don’t know if it’s going to last more than another month, there is a security that I feel because of this book, and it’s not necessarily that I will marry again, which is not my goal. No, the security is in the fact that Love for Grown-ups puts all those horror stories that I lived through via on-line dating into context—that there is a reason to believe that it could happened to me too.

While up-beat on the whole, the book tries to be realistic, but since the writers’ stories are so positive-in-the-end, “look we got married!”—it’s up to the reader to add her dose of doubt. The section on blending kids and families was, for me, not as true to my reality, but who’s to say my tough teen is not the exception? I did appreciate, though, that they did lay out the problems that arise and how they and other couples handled them. That, surely, was insightful.

So if you need to read some real life 40+ love stories, this is the place to go.  


Book Review: Keeping Kids Out of the Middle

I was recently asked to review a book and publish my review of it on my blog. Besides the immediate flattery and sense of “having made it” to some degree, I also thought that the book would be a good one for me to read and for perhaps some of my readers to learn about and read. The book, Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-Centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation, and Divorce, by Dr. Benjamin Garber turned out to be too tame for my life, or co-parent, in the jargon. Nevertheless, it was a good introduction, I think, to the types of things that a parent could expect when heading down Divorce Alley.

Dr. Garber’s focus throughout was what to do to make sure that you don’t bring in your adult animosities into your parenting. His suggestions made sense, and seemed to serve as a finger-snap to parents—SNAP out of it, think about your child before you say what you are about to say. And I truly wish I had a co-parent with whom I could expect reciprocity when dealing with the kids and discussing me with them. But as I was reading about how I need to not adultify or parentify my children I had a real-life crisis that his book just did not address.

My daughter, who was 230 miles away from her father, and was with her mother (that would be me), and her sister, and her grandparents but was abiding by what her father had told her to do when she was with me, which means that he was telling me how to parent and telling her that she had to listen to him, not to me. I didn’t recall Dr. Garber getting to this situation, it was all so “normal,” how each parent has his/her own rules and you need for the child to understand that. He did not address one parent telling the child only to listen to him. I don’t know if Dr. Garber would have sanctioned my “I don’t care what he told you” scream in the face of her fear of not doing what her father wants and completely dismissing what I told her to do, but there is a point that us adults cannot be touchy feely and we cannot be wiped off the face of the parenting earth. Okay, maybe I really am a bad parent and now I know it even more. But I will try, I promise, to be more understanding of her bind. But I will not be complicit in any arrangement that makes me sensitive but invisible.

Maybe I am too blinded by my situation to see that it really is like so many “normal” ones he gave guidelines and suggestions to, but it didn’t feel like it. I felt even more out there, since I had passed the point of only speaking nicely about their father with them when the instances of his speaking against me kept multiplying, because trying to be a good parent when the other parent hasn’t read any parenting books is darn hard. At a certain point you need to stand up in the face of so much negative publicity from the "co-parent."

His helpful suggestions and commonsense tips, and setting out what to expect in different situations were insightful, gave me a sense of what others are dealing with, which is always a good thing. The surveys and self-tests, and even tables were useful, if only to think about what I should try to do on my own, and to get a sense of what to expect from my daughters and the legal system, and their father, to some degree. I did miss having stories; Dr. Garber is more of a clinician than a storyteller, too bad. I always like an anecdote to illustrate a point (can you tell?).

Garber, Benjamin D., Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-Centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation, and Divorce. Deerfield, FL: Health Communications. 2008.

For additional information you can go to: www.healthyparent.com  and www.keepingkidsoutofthemiddle.com.