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Shandler, Nina

Shandler, Nina

PERSONAL:

Married; husband's name Michael; children: Sara, Manju (daughters). Education: Holds an Ed.D. degree.

ADDRESSES:

Home—MA.

CAREER:

Writer, psychologist, lecturer, and family therapist. Psychologist and family therapist in private practice. Lecturer and workshop presenter in schools and for parents, couples, and teachers.

WRITINGS:

Estrogen: The Natural Way: Over 250 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Menopause, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Ophelia's Mom: Women Speak Out about Living and Letting Go of Their Adolescent Daughters, foreword by Sara Shandler, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2001.

The Strange Case of Hellish Nell: The True Story of Helen Duncan and the Witch Trial of World War II, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Teaching Tolerance, Family Therapy Networker, and Communique.

WITH HUSBAND, MICHAEL SHANDLER

Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth: A Guide for Expectant Parents, photographs by Rodney Polden, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Ways of Being Together, illustrated by Marie Wiart, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 1980.

How to Make All the "Meat" You Eat out of Wheat: International Gluten Wheat "Meat" Cookbook, Rawson, Wade Publishers (New York, NY), 1980.

Holiday Sweets without Sugar, Rawson, Wade Publishers (New York, NY), 1981.

Homemade Mixes for Instant Meals—The Natural Way, Rawson, Wade Publishers (New York, NY), 1981.

The Complete Guide and Cookbook for Raising Your Child as a Vegetarian, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 1981.

SIDELIGHTS:

Author Nina Shandler is a licensed psychologist and family counselor. Many of her books extend her mission of helping individuals improve their physical and mental health. With Ophelia's Mom: Women Speak Out about Living and Letting Go of Their Adolescent Daughters, Shandler "provides an outlet for mothers" who want to express the diverse ways in which the "turbulence of their daughters' adolescence has impacted their own lives," commented Kathleen Hughes in Booklist. Inspired by her daughter Sara's 1999 collection of teenagers' writings about their lives, Ophelia Speaks, Shandler includes essays, poetry, stories, and commentary from dozens of mothers throughout the United States. The topics cover a wide range of issues relevant to mothers and adolescent daughters, including rejection and bonding; feminism; menopause and menstruation; sibling rivalry; drugs and alcohol; emotional instability and mood swings; and sex issues. Throughout, "the tone is upbeat and hopeful," noted Linda Beck in the Library Journal. The volume, concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "offers reassurance that other mothers, too, face tough choices during their daughters' sullen years—and that most teens and parents emerge from this difficult period wiser and stronger."

Shandler is also a cookbook author, and in Estrogen: The Natural Way: Over 250 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Menopause, she offers recipes for foods that helped her through the difficulties of the onset of menopause. The beginning of menopause is marked by wild fluctuations in women's hormone levels, and the dishes suggested by Shandler are intended to help balance those off-kilter hormones. Each recipe includes ingredients known to contain phytoestrogens—natural, plant-produced estrogens that are often used to alleviate physical symptoms in menopausal women. A common replacement hormone is Premarin, derived from the urine of pregnant mares, but health concerns have arisen in recent years over the use of this artificial estrogen. Phytoestrogens, on the other hand, are naturally occurring and are considered to be safer and more effective than drugs such as Premarin. Shandler stresses foods containing tofu, soy, and flaxseed, and she presents a litany of recipes covering all the major categories of food, from soups and appetizers to main courses to beverages and desserts. With her book, Shandler hopes to ease the travails of women entering menopause and offer them alternatives to the sometimes physically grueling courses of hormone replacement therapy.

In The Strange Case of Hellish Nell: The True Story of Helen Duncan and the Witch Trial of World War II, Shandler offers a historical biography of a unique personality from World War II. Shandler tells the story of Scottish psychic Nell Duncan, from her youth as a tomboy in Edinburgh, Scotland, to her adult years as a successful medium constantly doubted and harassed by the authorities. Overweight and the mother of six, Duncan was hardly a figure that would inspire awe or dread. During the war-ravaged days of World War II, however, Duncan turned to public performances of her psychic talents in order to help make a living and support her family. In a world where sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers fell daily on the battlefield, the intercession of mediums and psychics was sought after by many who wished to contact a departed loved one. However, as the British and the Allies neared the fateful D-Day invasion, authorities realized that a peculiar manifestation of Duncan's powers could prove damaging to the war effort. Duncan had been known to accurately describe Allied ship movements while in her trances. When she began practicing in Portsmouth, England, it was feared that she might divulge secrets about the pending D-Day invasion. Using trumped-up accusations of fraud, chief constable Arthur West arrested Duncan in order to silence her. Charged under the British Witchcraft Act of 1735, she endured a nine-day trial, described in detail by Shandler. In the end, the hapless Duncan was sentenced to nine months in jail, of which she served six. Even after her release, Duncan continued to practice her psychic skills, and apparently did so for the rest of her life. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that Shandler tackles an "intriguing subject."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1997, Penny Spokes, review of Estrogen: The Natural Way: Over 250 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Menopause, p. 1553; September 1, 2001, Kathleen Hughes, review of Ophelia's Mom: Women Speak Out about Living and Letting Go of Their Adolescent Daughters, p. 24.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of The Strange Case of Hellish Nell: The True Story of Helen Duncan and the Witch Trial of World War II, p. 1005.

Library Journal, May 1, 1997, Kate Kelly, review of Estrogen, p. 133; July, 2001, Linda Beck, review of Ophelia's Mom, p. 111.

Menopause News, May-June, 1997, review of Estrogen, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly, April 21, 1997, review of Estrogen, p. 67; June 25, 2001, review of Ophelia's Mom, p. 60; November 29, 2004, John F. Baker, "The Remarkable Story of a Spiritualist Tried for Witchcraft in 1944 in WWII Britain Because Her Seances Were Uncovering Top-Secret Allied Shipping Moves, Was Bought for Da Capo by Robert Pigeon," p. 8; August 7, 2006, review of The Strange Case of Hellish Nell, p. 44.

Time, April 21, 1997, J. Madeleine Nash, "Early Flash Points," review of Estrogen, p. 99.

ONLINE

Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (January 2, 2007), biography of Nina Shandler.

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