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Recommended Parenting Books

''Hold Me Close, Let Me Go'' by Adair Lara

Hold Me Close, Let Me Go: A Mother, A Daughter and an Adolescence Survived
by Adair Lara

I used to love Adair Lara’s San Francisco Chronicle columns. She provided great insight into all aspects of family dynamics—from having your ex living in the upstairs apartment, to making a third marriage work, to the intricacies of step-parenting. And even when she described the challenges of parenting her wilder- than-average daughter, Morgan, there were things to laugh at. (And if you can’t laugh in times of stress, you’re totally sunk.)

Lara’s columns often left me wondering, as she obviously was, “How’s this kid going to make it through without self-destructing?” After reading Hold Me Close, Let Me Go, Lara’s memoir about Morgan’s turbulent teen years, I realized that her columns didn’t tell the half of it. If you’re expecting Chicken Soup for the Soul of the Parent of a Troubled Teen, forget it. This book is more gut wrenching than soothing. But it’s totally real and ultimately life affirming. Its loving yet unflinching honesty is exactly what teens deserve from their parents 100% of the time. Lara’s experience isn’t as bad as it gets, but it’s likely to put yours into perspective. And that perspective, along with the ultimate validation and appreciation Lara gets from never giving up on her daughter, is an incredible lesson for all of us. On a scale of one to five, this one’s a solid five.

Visit Adair Lara's web site here. Read her past columns here.

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