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How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick Hardcover – April 9, 2013


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How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick + The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610392833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610392839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Eve Ensler, playwright and activist
"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."

Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate in Medicine
"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.”

Bruce Feiler, best-selling author of  THE COUNCIL OF DADS and THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES
“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.”

Kirkus Reviews
"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.”

Publishers Weekly
“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.”

Wall Street Journal
“[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.”

USA Today
“[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.”

Rabbi David Wolpe, Jewish Journal
“Marvelous…This is a wise book. It is a book we need.”

Chicago Tribune
“In How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick, Pogrebin offers healthy doses of advice interspersed with a memoir of her own cancer sojourn. She promises a primer on empathy, and she delivers. She pens a call to action, and the stories — and truths — gathered in these pages will leave the reader fully equipped to become that life-affirming wonder, a Most Compassionate Friend.”

Women Magazine
“How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick benefits from Pogrebin's extensive interviews with patients and their

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.

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
M&M Luke
Overall, the author described how these acts of kindness will nurture the sick, and the importance of sharing these lessons with friends, and family.
Geraldine Ahearn
THis book helped me to understand how to help and "be there" for a sick friend.
Norma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a woman who survived her own battle with cancer, delivers an essential guide on how to nurture, and love the sick. As soon as I noticed the title of this book, I immediately reflected back to 30 years of Nursing, working on all units, including oncology. The author shares her personal experience, along with touching stories of patients and their feedback of how they were treated, and what was missing. As I contemplate on hundreds of patients I cared for in the healthcare industry, many diagnosed with terminal illness, I remember listening to their own stories of how friendship and family interactions played a huge role in personal feelings, and recovery. The author portrays the essential importance of how to treat people that are sick, regardless of whether their condition is chronic, or terminal. Letty Cottin Pogrebin describes situations that can be awkward, misunderstood, and uncomfortable. Her main purpose of writing this book was to pass on information to others that makes a difference in the lives of those who are sick, and suffering. This book is filled with wisdom, guidance, and compassion. The author explains the things we should say, and the things we should not do. In addition, the crucial lessons highlighted by the author will benefit the sick in many ways. Letty Cottin Pogrebin offers tips for good behavior when visiting the sick, and how we should act. Most important, we must remember the feelings of the patient. The author's wise and witty lessons are valuable tools in helping to nurture the sick, and suffering. She describes what is needed, and how terror, fear and despair can only hurt more. When these challenges are met that the author discusses, it could indeed make a huge impact on the condition of the sick, and healers.Read more ›
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Ross on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
As the caregiver for 34 years for my wife Janet, I would have loved to have had this book available. There isn't much time for reading during those busy hours, but it would have made me remember that it wasn't just love that brought Janet and me together -- we were each other's best friends as well. Somehow we were able to hold onto that friendship (and that love) through 34 challenging years without guidance -- but Letty Cottin Pogrebin would have helped me through the thickets many, many times.

Her lists of dos and don'ts, her compassion for both patient and caregiver, her sense of how different people are -- some wanting control, others wanting to be controlled -- the importance of simply listening to the other person even though you are afraid, stressed, over-tired, sick of it all. She captures some of what kept me going, but gosh I would have liked to have had this book by my bedside to just browse in when the going got tough and it didn't seem possible to keep going.

One of the most powerful facts about this book is that Pogrebin interviewed over 60 different patients, some of whom needed constant support, others of whom truly wanted solitude. She clearly listened, and she captured their voices and their desires in remarkable ways. I would only add from our 34 years together, Janet sometimes wanted to be totally in control, sometimes totally alone, sometimes with whole hearted support. It was very easy for me to remember what she said during one of those periods and mis-apply it a day or a week or a month later when her mood or her desires had changed. This book would have made those moments of confusion much easier to resolve.

Bravo Letty! I recommend that every caregiver read this book and reflect on the learning here.

Robert C. Ross
May 2013
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By esther-ann asch on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing thoughtful and reflective book for anyone who has had suffering, adverstiy, illness or anyone who just needs to learn what to say and how to say thoughts and feelings to friends at difficult times. It truly is a book about our responsibilites as friends and how to make a diffence in big, small and meaningful ways.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bob's reviews on June 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I appreciated the author's direct, conversational writing style and did gain some ideas about how to deal with sick friends and their friends and family. The book shined when the spotlight was on the experiences of others and their reactions to the words of others but the author spent an inordinate amount of time talking about herself. I think if you care enough about how to be a friend in need that you are tempted to pick the book up and read it, you should. What you will probably find is that you already knew or sensed most of the right and wrong things to say and do most of the time. The take away for me was that every person is different and needs to be treated differently as he or she transitions through illness. If you intend to really be a friend, don't phone it in, roll up your sleeves and work at it. If at some point you mess up and say or do the wrong thing and you know it, apologize and keep being a friend.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lynn M. Povinelli on May 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a friend recently diagnosed with a serious illness so when I saw this I thought it would be helpful. Well, there is a lot of information that's for sure. Some of it's useful but a lot of the time she says one thing only to say the immediate opposite right after it. An example would be she'll say, she wants her friends to call on a regular basis and then she says she resents the constant reminder of being ill. To write a book claiming how to do it right becomes a problem as everyone has different needs and this is too broad a topic.
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