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How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sickby Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone knows someone who's sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.
Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends and family's diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful it was when people read her right. She began talking to her fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply talk to them.
Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories and opinions into this wide-ranging compendium of pragmatic guidance and usable wisdom. Her advice is always infused with sensitivity, warmth, and humor. It is embedded in candid stories from her own and others journeys, and their sometimes imperfect interactions with well-meaning friends. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick is an invaluable guidebook for anyone hoping to rise to the challenges of this most important and demanding passage of friendship.
"How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick gives us excellent tools and moving experiences to love and nurture the sick and dying. It urges and enables us to move towards those in need rather than fleeing in terror or despair. It is a handbook of kindness and care and will help patients and healers, which is ultimately all of us." Eve Ensler, playwright and activist
"After examining a potentially difficult and nearly universal experience — dealing with a friend's illness — from many points of view, Letty Pogrebin has turned her findings into wise and witty lessons about a prized but neglected human trait: empathy. In advising us on what to do and say, she also shows why she’s the kind of friend we all would want to have if we were sick.” Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate in Medicine
“As she has throughout her writing career, Letty Pogrebin has once again hit on a topic that everyone whispers and wonders about but is loath to discuss out loud. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick is taboo-busting, groundbreaking, and had me fist-pumping with glee. Take this brave, much-needed book along to your next family gathering or visit with a friend. I guarantee that the conversations it will evoke will be life-changing.” Bruce Feiler, best-selling author of The Council of Dads and The Secrets of Happy Families
"A cancer survivor channels her ordeal into reflections on the nature of empathy and friendships….The author’s sharp advice illuminates many of the more common gray areas governing what to say to an ailing friend, appropriate visitation frequencies and durations, and proper gifting. She also provides tips for good behavior when a friend’s parent or child is gravely ill….A useful refresher course on navigating the complicated territory of compassionate companionship.” Kirkus Reviews
“Pogrebin, a veteran feminist, author, and cofounder (with Gloria Steinem) of Ms. magazine, uses her experience with breast cancer…and nearly 80 interviews with friends and patients to craft this bluntly practical and gently humorous guide to the dos and don’ts of caring for the ill….It’s the bravery and wisdom Pogrebin brought to her own battle that lifts this guide from a mere list of sickroom rule to the invaluable lessons for sickness and health.” Publishers Weekly
“[A] kind of communication chasm, the one between the ill and those who care about them, is addressed with sympathy and humor in Letty Cottin Pogrebin's How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick, a guide to what might be called "compassion etiquette.” Wall Street Journal
“[How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick] offers sensible, specific advice about being a true friend to a pal facing hard times, be it disease, permanent disability, Alzheimer's, a child's suicide, or the death of a partner, parent or child.” USA Today
“Marvelous…This is a wise book. It is a book we need.” Rabbi David Wolpe, Jewish Journal
About the Author
Letty Cottin Pogrebin is an award-winning journalist, widely published opinion writer, acclaimed public speaker, admired political activist, and author of several nonfiction bestsellers, including Growing Up Free, Getting Over Getting Older, and Deborah, Golda, and Me. Her last book was a novel, Three Daughters. She lives in New York.
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