Advice-columnist and novelist Goldstein’s (The Singles, 2012) first nonfiction book cheerfully combines memoir and generous excerpts from her 'Love Letters' column in the Boston Globe ... The book neatly balances heartbreak and humor, as Goldstein’s story intertwines with those of her many correspondents.
Goldstein weaves in a deeply poignant story of her beloved single mom’s stage four cancer, her older sister’s December-May relationship, and her own ever-stumbling love life ... Of course she does both with incredible sensitivity and tact, but she also opens up the whole helper genre by inviting her thousands of readers (with names like Rico and Hoss) to weigh in as well ... Wryly funny and deeply moving, Can’t Help Myself is a misnomer because Goldstein most certainly, with humor and feeling, does. And she helps others too.
In Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist, out April 3 from Grand Central Publishing, Goldstein gets even more intimate with her readers. Can’t Help Myself is part-memoir of family, love, and finding yourself; part collection of some of Love Letters’ most memorable columns; part history of the origins of the column itself. It’s funny, it’s enormously relatable, it’ll make you want to subscribe to The Boston Globe immediately.
The book’s strength is the way Goldstein shows the blurring of personal and professional boundaries from the unique perspective of an advice columnist ... Though Goldstein includes some ancillary details that occasionally steer the book off course (notably anecdotes about her sister’s relationship woes), her story of coping with her mother’s illness is moving and tenderly wrought. The book will appeal to loyal readers of advice columns—particularly Goldstein’s—but be forewarned, this book is a tearjerker.
Goldstein is at her strongest when tackling such issues as platonic workplace relationships, managing the sting of rejection, uneven sex drives in a relationship, and risky interoffice romances; all of these are issues the author has encountered and overcome ... Goldstein’s hybrid of guidance and confessional turns poignant when she discusses her mother’s cancer diagnosis and she is relegated to finding 'extreme escapism' tactics and time with a caregiver support group to balance the emotional toll of the situation. Charming chapters on sex and her reluctant re-entry into the dating world strike another harmonious balance of breezy and informative. A witty, entertaining memoir offering guidance on the precarious integration of life and love.