by Barbara Oakley

Prometheus Books, $26.00, 387 pages

The clever title of author Barbara Oakley’s book is Cold-Blooded Kindness, Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts. It’s somewhat hard to find exactly where in the book this title applies. There is discussion about the newest understanding of Personality Disorders of various kinds, both fascinating and well written.  Indeed, this reviewer’s only criticism of the book is that the various subjects discussed were a bit disjointed; only loosely tied together. It was distracting as the author jumped from one subject to the next and back again. Remembering what was said and where you were takes considerable concentration.  Extensive notes are included at the back of the book as well. They are interesting with good information in themselves but can take you still farther afield. More effective organization of the subject matter would have brought this book up to 5 Stars.

Throughout the book, the author refers back to a story of a killing in Millard County, Utah, where the wife who killed her husband considered herself the actual victim. It is an intricate story, with quotations from trial transcripts, news articles, and interviews with those involved. I did not see the relevance of “Cold-Blooded Kindness” to it, but “Codependent Killer” seems more accurate. If the reader can be patient with the interruptions in the flow of the book, I recommend it as a very good read.

Reviewed by Rosalie West