Adult Print Library

Next to Nothing:  A Firsthand Account of One Teenager's Experience with an Eating Disorder by Carrie Arnold

next to nothingMore than simple cases of dieting gone awry, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are among the most fatal of mental illnesses, responsible for more deaths each year than any other psychiatric disorder. These illnesses afflict millions of young people, especially women, all over the world.

Carrie Arnold developed anorexia as an adolescent and nearly lost her life to the disease. In Next to Nothing, she tells the story of her descent into anorexia, how and why she fell victim to this mysterious illness, and how she was able to seek help and recover after years of therapy and hard work. Now an adult, Arnold uses her own experiences to offer practical advice and guidance to young adults who have recently been diagnosed with an eating disorder, or who are at risk for developing one. Drawing on the expertise of B. Timothy Walsh, M.D., one of America's leading authorities on eating disorders, she reveals in easy-to-understand terms what is known and not known medically about anorexia and bulimia. The book covers such difficult topics as how to make sense of a diagnosis, the various psychotherapies available to those struggling with an eating disorder, psychiatric hospitalization, and how to talk about these illnesses to family and friends. The result is both a compelling memoir and a practical guide that will help to ease the isolation that an eating disorder can impose, showing young people how to manage and maintain their recovery on a daily basis.  -Oxford University Press

Part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written specifically for teens and young adults, Next to Nothing will also be a valuable resource to the friends and family of those with eating disorders. It offers much-needed hope to young people, helping them to overcome these illnesses and lead productive and healthy lives. Amazon Review


Say You’re One of Them by Uwen Akpan

one_of_themEach story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.

A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family’s struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle’s attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today’s Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear. Hachette Book Group


Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner

why_people_die_bookIn the wake of a suicide, the most troubling questions are invariably the most difficult to answer: How could we have known? What could we have done? And always, unremittingly: Why? Written by a clinical psychologist whose own life has been touched by suicide, this book offers the clearest account ever given of why some people choose to die.

Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner brings a comprehensive understanding to seemingly incomprehensible behavior. Among the many people who have considered, attempted, or died by suicide, he finds three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself. Joiner tests his theory against diverse facts taken from clinical anecdotes, history, literature, popular culture, anthropology, epidemiology, genetics, and neurobiology--facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis.

The result is the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. Joiner's is a work that makes sense of the bewildering array of statistics and stories surrounding suicidal behavior; at the same time, it offers insight, guidance, and essential information to clinicians, scientists, and health practitioners, and to anyone whose life has been affected by suicide. Publisher’s Weekly


Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

Dreams FatherFrom All men live in the shadow of their fathers -- the more distant the father, the deeper the shadow. Barack Obama describes his confrontation with this shadow in his provocative autobiography, Dreams From My Father, and he also persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither.

What would he have us learn? That people of mixed backgrounds must choose only one culture in which to make a spiritual home? That it is not possible to be both black and white, Old World and New? If this is indeed true, as Mr. Obama tells it, then the idea of America taking pride in itself as a nation derived of many different races seems strangely mocked. America will always be part of the Old World and part of the New, part dream and part reality -- that truth is integral to the greatness and the possibility from which Mr. Obama has so richly profited. Publisher’s Weekly


 Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

hopes_boy_bookFrom the moment he was born, Andrew Bridge and his mother Hope shared a love so deep that it felt like nothing else mattered. Trapped in desperate poverty and confronted with unthinkable tragedies, all Andrew ever wanted was to be with his mom. But as her mental health steadily declined, and with no one else left to care for him, authorities arrived and tore Andrew from his screaming mother's arms. In that moment, the life he knew came crashing down around him. He was only seven years old. Hope was institutionalized, and Andrew was placed in what would be his devastating reality for the next eleven years – foster care. After surviving one of our country's most notorious children's facilities, Andrew was thrust into a savagely loveless foster family that refused to accept him as one of their own. Deprived of the nurturing he needed, Andrew clung to academics and the kindness of teachers. All the while, he refused to surrender the love he held for his mother in his heart.Ultimately, Andrew earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, went on to Harvard Law School, and became a Fulbright Scholar. Andrew has dedicated his life's work to helping children living in poverty and in the foster care system. He defied the staggering odds set against him, and here in this heart wrenching, brutally honest, and inspirational memoir, he reveals who Hope's boy really is. Publisher’s Weekly 


 The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

spirit_catches_bkWhen two divergent cultures collide, unbridgeable gaps of language, religion, social customs may remain between them. This poignant account by Fadiman, editor of The American Scholar, of the clash between a Hmong family and the American medical community reveals that among the gaps yawns the attitude toward medicine and healing. The story focuses on Lia Lee, whose family immigrated to Merced, Calif., from Laos in 1980. At three months of age, Lia was diagnosed with what American doctors called epilepsy, and what her family called quag dab peg or, 'the spirit catches you and you fall down.' Fadiman traces the treatments for Lia's illness, observing the sharp differences between Eastern and Western healing methods. Whereas the doctors prescribed Depakene and Valium to control her seizures, Lia's family believed that her soul was lost but could be found by sacrificing animals and hiring shamans to intervene. While some of Lia's doctors attempted to understand the Hmong beliefs, many interpreted the cultural difference as ignorance on the part of Lia's parents. Fadiman shows how the American ideal of assimilation was challenged by a headstrong Hmong ethnicity. She discloses the unilateralness of Western medicine, and divulges its potential failings. In Lia's case, the two cultures never melded and, after a massive seizure, she was declared brain dead. This book is a moving cautionary tale about the importance of practicing 'cross-cultural medicine,' and of acknowledging, without condemning, differences in medical attitudes of various cultures. Publisher’s Weekly


The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

TheSecretLifeofBeesSet in the American South in 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act and intensifying racial unrest, Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees is a powerful story of coming-of-age, of the ability of love to transform our lives, and the often unacknowledged longing for the universal feminine divine. Addressing the wounds of loss, betrayal, and the scarcity of love, Kidd demonstrates the power of women coming together to heal those wounds, to mother each other and themselves, and to create a sanctuary of true family and home.

Isolated on a South Carolina peach farm with a neglectful and harsh father, fourteen-year-old Lily Owens has spent much of her life longing for her mother, Deborah, who died amid mysterious circumstances when Lily was four years old. To make matters worse, her father, T. Ray, tells Lily that she accidentally killed her mother.

Lily is raised by Rosaleen, her proud and outspoken African-American nanny. When Rosaleen attempts to exercise her newly won right to vote, she is attacked by the three worst racists in town and is thrown into jail. Lily is determined to save Rosaleen and finally escape her own father as well. Seizing the moment, she springs Rosaleen from jail, and the two set out across South Carolina in search of a new life.

Their destination is Tiburon, South Carolina—a town they know nothing about except that in a box of Lily's mother's belongings there is a cryptic picture of a black Virgin Mary with the words "Tiburon, South Carolina" written on the back. There they are taken in by three black beekeeping sisters who worship the Black Madonna. It is here, surrounded by the strength of the Madonna, the hum of bees, and a circle of wise and colorful women, that Lily makes her passage to wholeness and a new life.

Captured by the voice of this Southern adolescent, one becomes enveloped in the hot South Carolina summer and one of most tumultuous times the country has ever seen. A story of mothers lost and found, love, conviction, and forgiveness, The Secret Life of Bees boldly explores life's wounds and reveals the deeper meaning of home and the redemptive simplicity of "choosing what matters."

In the end, though she cannot find the mother she lost, Lily discovers and comes to terms with her mother's past, finds a hive of new mothers, and falls in love with the great universal mother. As told through Bobby's poignant journal entries and his mother's reminiscences, Prayers for Bobby is at once a moving personal story, a true profile in courage, and a call to arms to parents everywhere. readinggroupguides.com


 Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son by Leroy Aarons

Prayers for Bobby_bcBobby Griffith was an all-American boy….and he was gay. Faced with an irresolvable conflict—for both his family and his religion taught him that being gay was "wrong"—Bobby chose to take his own life.
Prayers for Bobby, nominated for a 1996 Lambda Literary Award, is the story of the emotional journey that led Bobby to this tragic conclusion. But it is also the story of Bobby's mother, a fearful churchgoer who first prayed that her son would be "healed," then anguished over his suicide, and ultimately transformed herself into a national crusader for gay and lesbian youth.

As told through Bobby's poignant journal entries and his mother's reminiscences, Prayers for Bobby is at once a moving personal story, a true profile in courage, and a call to arms to parents everywhere. HarperCollins Publishing