Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

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"An absorbing, sharply observed memoir."
-Kirkus Reviews

A hilarious and heartrending account of one mother's journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son-a true story sure to beguile parents grappling with a child's bewildering behavior.

Popular literature is filled with the stories of self-sacrificing mothers bravely tending to their challenging children. Katherine Ellison offers a different kind of tale. Shortly ...

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Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

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Overview

"An absorbing, sharply observed memoir."
-Kirkus Reviews

A hilarious and heartrending account of one mother's journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son-a true story sure to beguile parents grappling with a child's bewildering behavior.

Popular literature is filled with the stories of self-sacrificing mothers bravely tending to their challenging children. Katherine Ellison offers a different kind of tale. Shortly after Ellison, an award-winning investigative reporter, and her twelve-year-old son, Buzz, were both diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, she found herself making such a hash of parenting that the two of them faced three alternatives: he'd go to boarding school; she'd go AWOL; or they'd make it their full-time job to work out their problems together. They decided to search for a solution while Ellison investigated what genuine relief, if any, might be found in the confusing array of goods sold by the modern mental health industry.

The number of diagnoses for childhood attention and behavior issues is exploding, leaving parents and educators on a confusing chase to find the best kind of help for each child. Buzz, a page-turner of a memoir, brings much relief. It is immensely engaging, laugh-out-loud funny, and honest-and packed with helpful insights.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Ellison (The Mommy Brain: How MotherhoodMakes Us Smarter, 2005, etc.) writes about her life on the ADHD battlefront.

When the author's son Buzz entered second grade, her world began to collapse as he became more unmanageable at home and in school. Forced to admit that something was seriously wrong, Ellison heeded school authorities who were urging her to seek psychiatric help for her son, despite her initial reluctance to medicate him. Not only was her son's behavior becoming increasingly uncontrollable, but she realized that she was exacerbating his problems by her tendency to fly off the handle when provoked. She wondered if he inherited his ADHD, "the hallmark obsession of our frazzled era," from her, and she examined her career, which was filled with "heady success" but built upon "constant cravings for conflict and caffeine" and marred by a number of careless blunders. After both she and her son received a positive diagnosis, Ellison decided to spend a year exploring a range of treatments—medication, therapy and family counseling, meditation, biofeedback—to fully understand the pitfalls of her interaction with her sons. Although she is no longer an opponent of medication, from which her son benefitted, she is still critical of the failure of the one-size-fits-all public-education model, made more problematic by staff cutbacks and increasing class sizes. Despite the fact that she did not find a silver-bullet cure, Ellison sums up her year as positive: Buzz has had fewer outbursts at home and at school, and she has learned to slow down and not react negatively to his provocations.

An absorbing, sharply observed memoir.

Nora Krug
…although Ellison can find no magic bullet, her book offers an instructive, if scattered, guide for parents of "certifiable" problem children as they navigate the "data storm" surrounding attention disorders.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
"An absorbing, sharply observed memoir."—Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401340889
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, former foreign correspondent, writing consultant, author of four books, and mother of two sons. Her most recent writing has focused primarily on neuroscience and the environment.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Predicament: "Understand Me!" 1

It's Personal

Chapter 1 History: Stuck on Input 15

Chapter 2 Emergency: Crossing Lines in the Ritalin Wars 36

Chapter 3 Biology: The Anatomy of Distraction 53

Chapter 4 Relationships: The Cookie of Peace 77

It's Cultural

Chapter 5 Society: Attack of the Chronophages 99

Chapter 6 Education: The Rules of Engagement 117

Chapter 7 Add-Vocacy: The Strength in Numbers 134

Is It Curable?

Chapter 8 Wired: Braving the New World of Neurofeedback 153

Chapter 9 Meditation: "No One Ever Died of Restlessness" 172

How About Reframable?

Chapter 10 The White Contender 195

Chapter 11 Knots To Undo 207

Epilogue: What Else Worked 217

Notes 227

Select Bibliography 277

On Methods and In Gratitude 279

Index 283

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

    RELATIONAL

    A book that brings hope and peace to a world full of noise and brilliance! A must read for parents and teachers who deal with the fragile mind of a child with ADHD.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Recommended

    The book is easy to read and the author is very enjoyable. If your child shows signs of ADD or just isn't the standard learner and social follower you hope he/she would be, the author provides incidents you have probably faced in trying to understand the situation and all the resources of information - she gives you the pros and cons of all sides.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 3, 2010

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