Berry, Carmen Renee 1953(?)-
BERRY, Carmen Renee 1953(?)-
Born c. 1953; daughter of Mary Ellen Berry; father was a minister. Education: University of Southern California, M.S.W.; Northern Arizona University, M.A. Politics: Democrat.
Home—Sierra Madre, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East Fifty-third Street, Seventh Floor, New York, NY 10022.
Motivational lecturer, certified massage therapist, and author.
(With Mark Lloyd Taylor) Loving Yourself As Your Neighbor: A Recovery Guide for Christians Escaping Burnout and Codependency, Harper & Row (San Francisco, CA), 1990.
Are You Having Fun Yet? How to Bring the Art of Play into Your Recovery, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1992.
(With poetry by Juanita Ryan) Coming Home to Your Body: 365 Simple Ways to Nourish Yourself Inside and Out, PageMill Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.
(With Mark W. Baker) Who's to Blame?: Escape the Victim Trap and Gain Personal Power in Your Relationship, Pinon Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 1996.
Is Your Body Trying to Tell You Something? Why It Is Wise to Listen to Your Body and How Massage and Body Work Can Help, PageMill Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
(With Lynn Barrington) Daddies and Daughters, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.
When Helping You Is Hurting Me: Escaping the Messiah Trap, Harper & Row (San Francisco, CA), 1998, revised and updated edition, Crossroad Publications (New York, NY), 2003.
(With mother, Mary Ellen Berry) Reawakening to Life: Renewal after a Husband's Death, Crossroad Publications (New York, NY), 2002.
The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church, Brazos Press (Grand Rapids, MI), 2003.
WITH TAMARA TRAEDER
Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 1995.
The Girlfriends Keepsake Book: The Story of Our Friendship, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.
Girlfriends Talk about Men: Sharing Secrets for a Great Relationship, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
Women's Rites: Girlfriends' Rituals, Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City, MO), 1998.
Girlfriends Are Forever, Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City, MO), 1998.
Girlfriends for Life: Friendships Worth Keeping Forever, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 1998.
A Friendship Meant to Be, Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City, MO), 2000.
A Girlfriend's Gift: Reflections on the Extraordinary Bonds of Friendship, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.
(With Janet Hazen) Girlfriends Get Together: Food, Frolic, and Fun Times, Wildcat Canyon Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.
A prominent motivational speaker and author of self-help books from a Christian perspective, Carmen Renee Berry has written on the dangers of codependence, the importance of the father-daughter relationship, and in a series of books with her best friend, Tamara Traeder, the intense bonds and occasional pitfalls of female friendships.
In books such as Loving Yourself As Your Neighbor: A Recovery Guide for Christians Escaping Burnout and Codependency and Who's to Blame?: Escape the Victim Trap and Gain Personal Power in Your Relationship, Berry explains the complex dynamics of victimization and the ways in which people undermine their own best interests and turn themselves into victims. It also offers practical, hard-hitting advice for overcoming victimization and standing up for your interests in relationships. In When Helping You Is Hurting Me: Escaping the Messiah Trap, Berry expands her theme to include those who find themselves constantly putting their own needs aside to help friends, family, and complete strangers. After describing this syndrome and the "Eight Messiah Characteristics," Berry discusses the childhood factors that lead people into the "Messiah trap" in order to get readers to confront these traumas and overcome them. In a review for 42 Online, a Web site aimed at independent psychologists, Theresa Bui noted, "Berry educates not only the individual seeking psychotherapy, but the psychotherapist as well by making the clinician aware of the treatment issues related to the 'Messiah trap.' Overall, the book provides the reader with information to understand issues related to, and find new alternatives for, their self-defeating behaviors."
A certified massage therapist, Berry has also written and coauthored a number of books on body work and how it can be used to heal both inner and outer pains. In Coming Home to Your Body: 365 Simple Ways to Nourish Yourself Inside and Out and Is Your Body Trying to Tell You Something? Why It Is Wise to Listen to Your Body and How Massage and Body Work Can Help, Berry introduces readers to the science and therapeutic value of body work, encouraging people to care for themselves by caring for their bodies. The first is designed to provide daily readings and helpful suggestions to women seeking to maintain their self-esteem in the face of the constant barrage of negative or destructive body images from advertising, entertainment, and sometimes their own friends.
Berry has also taken an interest in the family and friendship dynamics that affect women's lives. In Daddies and Daughters, she and coauthor Lynn Barrington draw on their own experiences and interviews with numerous women to explore the unique dynamics of father-daughter relationships from infancy into adulthood, and the ways those dynamics can enhance or damage the relationships women form in later life. "The book's most moving section," according to Washington Post Book World reviewer Judy Mann, "looks at loss between fathers and daughters, either through divorce or long separations." In Reawakening to Life: Renewal after a Husband's Death, Berry and her widowed mother, Mary Ellen Berry, explore another kind of deeply painful loss, offering widows tactful and compassionate advice for overcoming lost faith and reclaiming their lives. The result, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "is a well-written, personal and encouraging guide for bereaved Christian women."
Berry is perhaps best known for a series of books coauthored with her best friend, Tamara Traeder, a lawyer and president of Wildcat Canyon Press. While many books provide advice for women on romantic entanglements, relationships with husbands, and coming to terms with parents and children, relatively few explore the special dynamics of female friendships. In books including Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties and Women's Rites: Girlfriends' Rituals, Berry and Traeder chronicle the importance of friendship in their own and other women's lives while providing advice for keeping these friendships alive and fresh.
In The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church, Berry explores one more relationship that has been central to her life: the relationship with God and religion. Raised in the conservative Church of the Nazarene, she drifted away from organized religion after high school but found herself longing for belief after the suicide of a friend. After a five-year odyssey through various churches, Berry returned to the Church of the Nazarene, finding a congregation close to her home. In addition to describing her own journey, Berry provides information on a wide range of Christian denominations for others seeking to return to church but not sure which one is right for them. "Her grasp of church history and theology is broad and impressive, and her injection of humor into this serious topic is welcome," noted Library Journal contributor John Moryl.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1998, review of Daddies and Daughters, p. 625.
Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, March, 1998, review of Girlfriends (audiobook), p. 55.
Library Journal, April 1, 2003, John Moryl, review of The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church, p. 105.
People, July 14, 1997, "Of Human Bonding: the Authors of Girlfriends Are Learning to Be Pals," p. 124.
Publishers Weekly, July 15, 2002, review of Reawakening to Life: Renewal after a Husband's Death, p. 69; March 31, 2003, review of The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church, p. 61.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), May 17, 2003, Amy Gage, "Faith and Values: How to Find Your Spiritual Home," profile of Carmen Renee Berry.
USA Today, June 1, 2003, Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Deciding on the Church of Your Choice."
Washington Post Book World, August 30, 1998, Judy Mann, review of Daddies and Daughters, p. 8.
42 Online Web site,http://www.division42.org/ (November 9, 2003), Theresa Bui, review of When Helping You Is Hurting Me.
Reporting Interactive Web site,http://www.reporterinteractive.org/ (August 20, 2003), Kenneth Wray Conners, review of The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church.*