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review 2021-03-29 09:27
The death of love – and what comes after


“Ah, so this is what the world looks like from the epicenter of grief–”


Songs for Solo Voice

By James R. Whitley


This quote from Here, one of the poems in James R. Whitley’s Songs for Solo Voice, sums up this entire book of thirty-five poems.

After a second reading, I realized the works reminded me of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. Though Whitley’s book only has four parts, with a little rearranging and a bit of imagination the poems began to take on a significance for me they didn’t have initially.

The entire collection appears to focus on a failed relationship, the death of love, and begins with works that address anger and bargaining. A stanza from Souvenir says it best, “If I take it all back—the jagged insults hurled like careless daggers, the failing stargazer lilies and their accusations of neglect, every unconscionably late anniversary gift—could there be room left for negotiation?”

In Quite Taken, the bargaining continues for a reprieve from the unrelenting pain: “Does it explain my pleas for mercy that continue long after the church has crumbled to dust around me?”

Depression that comes with loss is expressed in Sostenuto“No matter how striking the tune, the sound after a song has been sung is no sound at all."

The suffering continues, but with a glimmer of acceptance with the realization in Here“is not just where I am, but where I am meant to be.”

Gradually the poems convey a hint of optimism as in Here, Finally, “…there comes a point when you realize that, no matter how long or torturous, no road is your enemy.” By the end of Songs for Solo Voice, the impression is one of reconstruction and working through, “but know that, when it comes to loss, none of us is immune." (Trembling Deliciously) and “…a game played—however badly, however distressing the ultimate defeat— was an option to win something. (The Inside Story of It)

And finally, in She Hangs Brightly, a declaration of hope; “Trust me when I say you will survive this, despite the difficult music lurking in the background. This is just the music of never-forgetting-her, the score of the rest of your life.”

Whitley uses a number of musical terms, which this reviewer did not understand or initially appreciate. But after looking up their definition found them to be remarkably appropriate in subsequent readings.

When read individually, most of the poems in this collection are exceptional for their raw beauty and intensity. However, as a theme, the bitterness and disappointment, the self-flagellating, and accompanying insecurity become burdensome.

Regret, like worry, is unproductive and tedious

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text 2020-04-08 00:20
Why do we Need Family Counseling?

The family plays a huge role in the development of any society. The personality traits of each individual are affected by their family. The intimacy between the family members is deeply affected by technical advancement trends. The time spent by each family together is becoming very less these days. The economical crisis in many of the nations has destroyed the families on a large scale. Each member has to move to different places to earn money. The family gives emotional support to achieve the objective of life. Family counseling is very necessary to hold the emotional bonding between family members.


Role of Therapist in Family Counseling


The session of family counseling is done by counselors with great expertise in counseling. They should know the different psychotherapy techniques to implement family counseling. The counselors for the family should continuously monitor the family. They should prioritize family issues. They should evaluate the psychological and behavioural problems. They should guide the family to handle the issues.


Bowenian Family Therapy


This method is for the individuals who do not wish to merge in the family. The counselor works with all family members based on two approaches, triangulation, and differentiation. This approach helps to merge the individual with the family.


Structural Family Therapy


This therapy focuses on the psychic behaviour of family members. The counselors study their behavioral patterns and interaction between the other members. Based on the patterns they will devise the method to resolve your family issues.


Final Words


The differences between family members will be identified earlier. We have to seek the help of the counselor in case the difference is maximum. We have to ensure that each family members should cooperate with family counseling.

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review 2019-12-05 23:54
She's Not There : A Life in Two Genders - Jennifer Finney Boylan
She's Not There : A Life in Two Genders - Jennifer Finney Boylan

Memoirs are hard to get right: too much honesty and everyone will come away hating you, too littleand everyone comes away hating you and thinking you're a phony. Then too, many people who have had interesting lives aren't able to articulate them very well. Then you can read a couple of hundred pages and still never have a clue what the author is like. And those who are good at turning their personal history into charming anecdotes are rarely also good at placing their narrative into a bigger context. Every single bit of it is hard: there are just so many places to screw it up.

Boylan does not screw it up. She gives the reader enough to feel engaged on an emotional level, all the while she's making one laugh and cry and laugh and sigh and laugh. I had no problem at all believing that she's the most popular professor at her college. She's funny as hell in a quiet sort of way, not at all like a string of jokes cobbled together. And then wham, right in the feels.


What I think it is, is this: Boylan is brilliant at capturing the concrete detail, and the detail is so much more evocative and visceral than emoting would be. There's no cataloging of emotional states, instead there are things that happen, or that noticeably fail to happen. There are weird relatives, and stupid kid stuff (from both the parent and child angles). I like the visit to the beach and the creepy aspects of an old house.


A good book by a writer who is new-to-me gives me a list of titles to look forward to reading. Not only do I want to read everything else Boylan has written, but I want to read everything Richard Russo has written, too.


Library copy.

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review 2019-12-01 23:02
A Castle in Wartime - Catherine Bailey
A Castle in Wartime - Catherine Bailey

This is how highly I think of Catherine Bailey's work: she has a new book, I place an order, I receive it, I start reading it. Why no, I hadn't even noticed the subtitle until I pulled the book up here to mark it Currently Reading.
Doesn't matter. It's going to be fascinating.


And it was. I hate the title though. Not that I have a better suggestion.

The topic is right in my wheelhouse: women in wartime. In this case, a young woman, daughter of the German ambassador to Italy during WWII. She met and married an Italian nobleman, bore two sons, and tried to hold the estate, its farm, and the surrounding community safe against the Germans. Meanwhile her father and her husband are both off, fighting against their respective country's fascist leaders.

The Gestapo come for her, taking her and the boys to Austria, where they are taken from her and she is sent through a succession of concentration camps.

Italy isn't a country whose history I know very well, and although I've read a fair amount about WWII none of it was ever about the resistance within Germany to the Nazis and their atrocities. You know how in time travel stories everyone's first thought seems to be "Let's kill Hitler?" There couldn't have been many more attempts on his life if all those stories were true. I had no idea.

It is heartening to know that so many within these countries were resisting, often at enormous personal and familial cost. There are those who think blaming some poorly-treated minority for the ills of their society, rather than, say, the actual people who are running the government and controlling the capital. But there are also the others who despise aggression and are appalled by violence. I need to hear more of those stories.

Side bar: it is not a "brothel" full of "prostitutes" in the concentration camps. Rape as an act of war isn't any less horrific for being indoors and controlled by military authorities.

Library copy

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review 2019-10-13 16:36
The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan

I would never have picked this up if it had this cover. Mine looks like this Which is at least very Halloweeny.


I get what O'Nan was doing, and I respect it. He was writing his own nostalgic look back at youth as shown in one moody Halloween. And yeah, Something Wicked This Way Comes is wonderfully moody. But rereading it last year I didn't love it as much as I thought I did. And my  biggest problem with it is also my biggest problem with this: so much nostalgia, so little of anything else.


Marco is telling us the story. He's one of several teens who died in a wreck on Halloween one year ago. Marco, Toe, and Danielle are ghosts. Tim survived in good physical shape but with an unbearable burden of guilt and loss. Kyle survived but lost his personality and his memories and many of his life skills. His mother has devoted this past year to his recovery and rehabilitation and is aware that he's never likely to be an independent adult. Brooks is the first officer on the scene and the wreck has ruined his life as well.


It's very stylish this story, but not very engaging. Read for


Personal copy

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