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Monday, May 17, 2021

Crystal Otto Reviews "Praying for Restraint" by Allen Long


I am 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. 

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:

--- Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

How many time throughout my career did I come home with an interesting story and think to myself "I should write a book about this; no one would believe it"? The answer to that question is probably what led me to blogging in the first place, but that's a story for a different day. As far as Praying for Restraint is concerned, there are many reasons to love this book and at the very top of the list is author Allen Long's bravery in writing it. It's one thing, to keep a journal and have fleeting thoughts of writing a book, it's another thing completely to follow through with the idea. I think this is especially true if your experiences are on the negative side of the fence. This book changed the way I look at healthcare and healthcare workers - and I feel this is a necessary read for all of us (regardless of our vocation). 

Praying for Restraint was sometimes difficult to read. The way I viewed healthcare before reading this memoir and the way I view it now are very different. This was an eye opening experience. I applaud author Allen Long for sharing his experience and hopefully it will help make someone's experience better. This book is described as being thought provoking and it is absolutely that. It's a story that will stick with you and I'm glad I had an opportunity to read it. We are all touched by healthcare at some point in our lives (whether that be as a care giver, receiver, etc...) and it's great to share in Long's experience to get a behind the scenes view. 


--- Upcoming Blog Tour Schedule

May 20th @ Book Santa Fe with Art Tucker
Avid reader Art Tucker shares his thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe. Find out what Art thought about the latest memoir written by Allen Long titled Praying for Restraint.

May 23rd @ Madeline Sharples
Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples shares her thoughts after reading Allen Long's latest memoir Praying for Restraint. Readers won't want to miss Madeline's review. 

May 23rd @ Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler reviews Praying for Restraint by Allen Long. Find out what one memoir author has to say about the memoir of another author! Don't miss this valuable insight! 

May 24th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Healthcare worker and Wisconsin mother, Michelle DelPonte shares her thoughts after reading Allen Long's memoir Praying for Restraint. 

May 25th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles offers her thoughts in an insightful review of Allen Long's medical memoir titled Praying for Restraint. Join readers at World of My Imagination as they learn more about this inspiring memoir and it's author. 

May 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Memoirist, Artist, and Psychotherapist Linda Appleman Shapiro offers some deep thoughts in her review of Allen Long's latest memoir Praying for Restraint. Join readers at Linda's blog today to learn more! 

May 27th @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Wisconsin educator and small business owner Cathy Hansen shares her insightful review of Allen Long's Praying for Restraint. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about this memoir!

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