Insight and inspiration In Parents Who Think Too Much: Why We Do It, How to Stop It (Dell Island, $12.95, 0440508126), Anne Cassidy proclaims that today's kids have virtually taken over their parents' lives. She recommends that parents drop out of parenting classes and forget the experts. Instead, they must remember to trust their instincts. Her thesis took shape when she was struck with laryngitis and couldn't give her daughters the praise they'd grown to depend on what she describes as the steady stream of prattle about what a good job she's doing or what she'd like to do next. She realized her children, and many others, were suffering from what she calls Attention Excess Disorder, which she deems the Malady of the Decade. Cassidy's ideas are full of common-sense wisdom, delivered in a voice that sounds like a reassuring, often humorous, friend.

I was also riveted to Richard F. Miniter's The Things I Want Most: The Extraordinary Story of a Boy's Journey to a Family of His Own, the story of his family's decision to take in a severely troubled 11-year-old as a foster child. The Miniters had already raised six children of their own and were running an inn in upstate New York. Instead of enjoying some well-earned tranquillity, they brought chaos into their lives in the form of a boy named Mike. This is a book you won't forget.

Alice Cary is a mother and a reviewer in Groton, Massachusetts.

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