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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Cathy Hansen Gives Allen Long's "Praying for Restraint" 5 Stars!


We are excited to be included in Allen Long's WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour for his latest memoir Praying for Restraint.  Thank you WOW! 

About Praying for Restraint:

Allen Long works as a CNA-certified nursing assistant-at that supposed sanctuary of caring, an inner-city general hospital. What an unforgettable parade of bizarre, needy, abusive, menacing, endearing, and poignant humanity passes through its doors. And those are just the staff and administrators! Meanwhile, the patient population spans the affluent and sophisticated to the homeless, the mentally ill, addicts, gang members, and criminals in custody. Praying for Restraint takes the reader on a journey into the absurd and surreal that is ultimately uplifting and harrowing, both funny and heartbreaking. Long's struggle to survive a relentlessly toxic work environment with body, soul, and marriage intact is as gripping as the battle against childhood abuse in his previous memoir, Less than Human. Reviewers found that book "inspiring, honest, and beautifully written, engaging, and thought-provoking." Praying for Restraint earns that praise and more.

Praying for Restraint 
is now available to purchase on Amazon in both paperback and as a Kindle book as well as Barnes and Noble and as a Google Book. 

--- Review by Cathy Hansen

Having read a brief description of Praying for Restraint, I was curious.  One of my college roommates was a CNA for a couple years.  I was always amazed by her stories about coworkers and patients from her nursing home, and her willingness to do the demanding job.  Her stories left me with a great deal of respect for anyone who took on the job of serving others as a CNA.  I appreciated the pain and difficulty she faced when a patient passed, and admired her humor when she could say it was a good day at work because, “I didn’t get any poop on me today.”  Because of this experience with my former roommate, and having had some wonderful CNA’s who have touched my life, a memoir about the work of a CNA sounded like an interesting read.

I expected to read tales of helping others while performing a very challenging job with long, stressful hours.  I expected to read about understaffing and perhaps a few bad apples in patient care.  I was definitely not prepared for the horrors described within the pages of this book.  I finished the book feeling sad, angry, and frustrated that many patients did not get the level of care as ordered by their doctors and expected by their families.  I was furious that those working to provide that care are not always treated humanely or provided with all of the help and tools they should be.  It was appalling and eye-opening to read stories of mismanagement of resources, rude supervisors and coworkers, and poor patient care, even patient abuse.  

Healthcare workers are heroes.  Allen Long shows us just how hard they work, while also examining the demons he has faced in his personal life.  In Praying for Restraint, we learn not only about Allen Long the CNA, but Allen Long the person, including Allen Long the victim of abusive parents.  This peak into Long’s background helps the reader understand why effective healthcare workers choose such a challenging profession to begin with:  to make a difference.  

I applaud Allen Long for having the courage to share these stories, and I hope we can see a positive change in the level of patient care, but also in the level of respect for those working in patient care and providing excellent patient care. 

--- About today's Reviewer:


Cathy Hansen is a wife, mom, teacher, independent
beauty consultant, and small business owner. She and her husband operate SeedsNBeans, a local nature store, in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

About the Author, Allen Long

Here’s how I became a writer. When I was a child in Arlington, Virginia, as soon as I understood what stories were, I began telling them to anyone who would listen. As a fifth-grader, I was recruited by the Storytellers, a small group of supervised fifth- and sixth-graders who told stories once a month to kids in the first, second, and third grades.

When I reached sixth grade, my teacher allowed me to skip all of my English assignments in exchange for me writing her a short story each week. In seventh grade, one of my stories placed second in an English class competition.

DNA strands
Storytelling seems to have been hardwired into my DNA.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is telling my younger brother, David, a made-up story every night during the summers we slept in twin beds in our cool basement.

I earned a BA in Communications/Journalism from Virginia Tech. While I was there, I took every creative writing class offered and wrote a story that placed second at a regional literary festival sponsored by nearby Hollins University. During my student days, I also worked half-time for two years as a reporter for The Roanoke Times.

After I graduated, I accepted a scholarship to earn an MA in English/fiction writing from Hollins University, where I wrote the first half of a novel. I then received a second scholarship and a teaching assistant position to pursue an MFA in fiction writing at the University of Arizona.

Shortly after I graduated, I published a story called “Second Honeymoon” in Concho River Review. After that, I decided to continue my writing education by working with master editor Tom Jenks. When Tom was a senior editor at Scribner’s, he completed Ernest Hemingway’s unfinished novel, The Garden of Eden, which became a bestseller.

I published two more stories, and then I decided to change gears and write a memoir called “Soul Breach” about the high level of illegal and unethical behavior I’d witnessed while working in the management consulting field. The story was published, and my good friend and editor, Kit McIlroy, told me it was the best piece I’d ever written, and he encouraged me to write more nonfiction.

I followed his advice and wrote and published magazine-length memoirs about the happiest, most intriguing, and worst moments in my life. These combined pieces became my first book, Less than Human: A Memoir (Black Rose Writing, 2016).

After that, I published memoirs on a wide variety of subjects, including two about my work as an assistant nurse in a poorly managed inner-city hospital populated by challenging patients, including violent mentally ill ones who often were not sedated or restrained.

“Keep writing about that hospital, and you’ve got your next book,” Kit said. I followed his advice, eventually producing my second book, Praying for Restraint: Frequent Flying with an Inner-City Hospital CNA (Legacy Book Press, 2021).

dolphinOne final comment—I’ve loved visiting zoos and aquariums my whole life, and I’ve raised box turtles, swum with sea turtles, and gone on multiple dolphin- and whale-watching expeditions. Therefore, you may notice that quite a bit of wildlife has crept into my writing. At last count, I spied lions, tigers, giraffes, eland, monkeys, chimps, elephants, alligators, caimans, box turtles, sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback whales. Have I missed any?

You can discover more about Allen and his work on his website:



  1. Cathy, thanks for your thoughtful review!

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