One to One is a small book but big in narrative scope and rich in substance. It is a collection of ten brief stories about individuals-and one dog-who stand out vividly in the kaleidoscope of indelible memories spanning the author's long career in social work. Movingly and without sentimentality the book captures the quiet and poignant drama, both internal and situational, that unfolds in these vignettes. They are about men, women, and in two cases, children, varied in background and circumstances, struggling in their unique ways with daunting problems. The book casts a secondary spotlight on social work, a profession that the author calls "so challenging, so rewarding, and so under-celebrated." In each of the stories the author as social worker is both narrator and participant in the "one to one" relationship, and her helping role has its own share of drama. In the earlier stories she effectively recreates herself as a young woman, enthusiastic in her profession, learning to discipline her feelings lest they intrude unprofessionally in situations that stir her to the core.
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August 09, 2004
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