Cover image for Kitchen table wisdom : stories that heal
Kitchen table wisdom : stories that heal
Remen, Rachel Naomi.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : G.K. Hall, 2001.

Physical Description:
400 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Riverhead Books, 1996.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library R154.R374 A3 1996B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

On Order



A balanced blend of fiction and nonfiction that offers inspiration and encouragement without reference to a particular faith or religion. The various genres of fiction feature characters who reap rewards or consequences appropriate to their actions. The diverse selection of nonfiction echoes today's discussions of ethics, values, and morals.Loneliness is the hidden wound of our time, the price many have paid for embracing such frontier values as independence, self-reliance and competence. Rachel Remen invites us to see below the surface and remember that we are connected and can become one another's healers. Her stories, picked from the tree of life, are dedicated to the ordinary hero in all of us and stand witness to life's natural tendency to heal our wounds. In them, we discover that our life's goal may be the ability to travel together with humor and meaning, with purpose and quality companionship, with warmth and tenderness.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Many people will know Remen, an M.D. who specializes in psycho-oncology, from the PBS series Healing and the Mind. Here Remen focuses on the healing power of stories, drawing evidence both from the experiences of her patients and from her own battle with the effects of Crohn's disease, a life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder. This is a book about possibilities, how terror can be faced, how lessons can be learned, how healing is always possible, if not physically then emotionally. Each story is only a few pages long, but in them, readers meet a variety of people, including Remen's own family, who come up against the most difficult medical circumstances and still manage to find the mystery and hope in life, even at its last moments. By telling these stories and encouraging readers to share their own, Remen wants people to see the interconnectedness of human beings and the resilience of the human condition. She does a wonderful job of it. A Book-of-the-Month Club selection. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Remen is one of a growing number of physicians exploring the spiritual dimension of the healing arts. "Coherent, elegant, mysterious, aesthetic," she writes. "When I first earned my degree in medicine I would not have described life in this way. But I was not on intimate terms with life then." Now Remen is awed by the vitality of the life force, which she witnesses through her work counseling cancer patients and their doctors at Commonweal, a cancer-help center in California, and through her keen eye for the depths of ordinary people. Remen tells of those who, having fallen ill, discovered previously untapped wells of fortitude and who, ironically, gained a peace of mind they had never known when well. She often turns common wisdom on its head. Discussing the meaning of suffering, she cites one woman who mourned the loss of her chest pains after corrective surgery. These pains had come whenever she had compromised her integrity; now her "inner advisor" was gone. Some of the most poignant stories here are of doctors whose professional code rejects overt displays of emotion. Both patients and doctors can come to care profoundly for one another, Remen believes. A heartfelt call for change as well as a display of compassionate and courageous thinking, this meditation will speak especially to those whose lives have been touched by illness. BOMC and One Spirit alternate selections; first serial rights to Family Circle and New Age Journal. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Speaking as a counselor of 20 years for the chronically and critically ill patient, Remen (Univ. of California at San Francisco Medical Sch.) uses a classic metaphor for human communication, "across the kitchen table," to unfold life-affirming stories from her practice and her own personal experiences with Chron's disease. She writes inspirationally about a new vision of healing and living that incorporates the value of the soul. More than a manual on holistic medicine, this collection of case studies takes readers from the beginning of the "life force" through the judgment traps of modern life into an open-hearted mystery of embracing life at a friend's table. Acknowledging the individual's healing abilities in her advocacy of alternative therapies, Remen points out that healing occurs on many levels. Refreshingly, her instruction is based on a broader view of medicine that replaces disconnection with celebration of the joy of being a fully healed human.‘Rebecca Cress-Ingebo, Fordham Health Sciences Lib., Wright State Univ., Dayton, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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