Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field. He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions
 

All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions. The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that.

This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb. Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself.

Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest. At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.

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Jonathan Kaplan's Journey from World-Class Ref to Rookie Solo Dad
Winging It

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Meet Larry Joe. Larry is an ex-gangster and an ex-convict. He is also a singer, song-writer, performer and motivational speaker. And he has an extraordinary story to tell.

In this inspiring biography, Larry Joe relives his youth spent between abusive parents, rival gangs and brazen addiction. He stole his first loaf of bread at age five and his descent into a life of crime was virtually guaranteed. Eventually, Larry found himself on the run from the law, living on the streets of Cape Town and busking to earn money.

 

Just as things seemed hopeless, Larry chose to rewrite his destiny. He turned himself in to the police to face the music. As a prisoner, Larry continued his metamorphosis by channelling his anger, hopes and dreams into music. Then fate lent a hand in the form of Aron Turest-Swartz – founder of South African music sensation Freshlyground. Aron saw Larry perform at a prison concert, co-produced an album with him at the Douglas Correctional Facility, and ultimately helped him to walk out of jail and onto stage.

This is the story of one man’s journey away from certain self-destruction towards personal freedom. It is the story of South Africa and the challenges of transition from old to new. Larry’s openness about the ravages of his past, his collaboration with Aron, and his new life as a musician and educator, make for a riveting read, and are an inspiration for anyone who wants to believe in second chances.

 

The Crazy Life of Larry Joe
A journey on the Streets and Stage

Sometimes a book comes along that opens an invisible world that exists alongside your own. This is such a book. It fascinates, horrifies, saddens, uplifts. Its tells us about ourselves. We all need to read it.

- Mike Nicol (Pan Macmillan) 

Larry Joe shares his compelling life story of rehabilitation, transformation and musical creativity in the hope it will inspire others to turn away from a path of violence, gangsterism, drugs and alcohol. His achievements are an inspiration to us all. 

- Danny K (Musician and co-founder of The Shout Foundation)

Finding Sarah: A true story of living with bulimia
One girl’s struggle to beat the addiction which nearly killed her...

‘Society turns a blind eye to people with ​​eating disorders as they are often considered as merely seeking attention. This is extremely ignorant as it goes way beyond that,’ says Finding Sarah’s troubled but captivating protagonist, 26-year-old Sarah Claire Picton. For more than nine years, Sarah has been purging her food in any place she can find: public toilets, plastic bugs, coffee mugs. When she couldn’t satisfy her bulimic addiction, she restricted her diet to the point that she weighed only 41 kilogrammes, a weight better suited to a girl less than half her age. She has lost teeth and her gag reflex. She has lost her energy and her friends. She has come close to losing her life. But then she decided to do something about it.


Sarah reveals her story in brutally honest detail to author Joanne Jowell, setting herself on a path of enlightenment for herself, her family and anyone who might hear her story. No holds are barred as Sarah describes the selfishness of the illness, the shame surrounding her condition, and the deceptive ends to which she will go to hide her addiction. Along the way, Joanne meets the players in this story, including Sarah’s mother, friend, ex-boyfriend and psychiatrist. And of course, there is Sarah herself – cowed but not beaten, searching for herself even as the author does, sharing her life story so that she can reach out to the countless others who suffer in the shadow of addiction.

A topic that seems to be thrown aside as “attention seeking” is fully splayed out for everyone to grasp! Powerful and honest!  This book really needs to be given to every man, woman and girl. You need to read this book; it will have you talking about EDs with colleagues, family and friends.

- Kelly Ansara (It's a Book Thing)

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It is a book that will resonate not only with those who suffer from bulimia, but with anyone who knows anyone who has – parents, friends, partners. And whilst it deals with something destructive, Finding Sarah is ultimately a story of courage and inspiration.

- Megan (Wordsworth)

On the Other Side of Shame 
An extraordinary account of adoption and reunion
​June 1961: Lynette Zinn, seventeen, Jewish and unmarried, trembles as her father rages about the pregnancy​ which she has managed to​ conceal ​for

seven monthsThe child, he declares, is a scandal and will have to be born in secret, put up for adoption and never mentioned again. Lynette’s protests go unheard. 

 

March 2001: Antony Egnal, a successful physician living in Seattle, adopts a child. The experience triggers his curiosity about his own adoption and Antony wonders if, after 40 years, he can discover anything about his own biological parents.


June 2001: Lynette Langman’s world is shaken by a phone call. After half a lifetime, Antony finds his birth-mother and discovers a truth more awesome than he could have imagined.


On the Other Side of Shame is a non-fiction account of the history and aftermath of these dramatic events, mapping Lynette’s journey against that of her long-lost son. Antony’s approach and emotional responses to his birth-mother are exceptional, as are the stories that have unfolded since their reunion. Shielded identities and the barriers of a conservative era ensured that mother and son never consciously crossed paths, yet a string of uncanny coincidences mark their time apart.


This is a story about the power of shame and the strength of forgiveness, a story which crosses borders and generations. It examines the intricacies of the Langman/Egnal adoption and reunion saga through the eyes of the people most deeply affected, centred around the unusual circumstances which make this an extraordinary story.

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The book flows and is well-written, and you will not put down until you've finished it! Taking a real-life story and shaping it into a gripping page-turner shows that the author is extremely talented - and that truth really is stranger

than fiction.

- Tali (Talivision)

 

​Managing the Quarterlife Crisis
Facing life’s choices in your 20s and 30s

Confused about your career, where to live, when to settle down, whether to travel or work, how to find your life’s passion? Feeling like you’ll be left behind if you don’t commit to a job or a relationship? Worried about being a failure if you haven’t got it all sorted out by 30? Don’t stress, you’re not alone. You’re just a ‘Quarterlifer’ having a bit of a ‘crisis’.


This book builds awareness and solidarity around a condition of inner turmoil for today’s young adults in their 20s to mid-30s. The ‘Quarterlife Crisis’ is brought on by life’s changes and choices, and exaggerated by the lack of stability in modern living. While this is not a psychological text, it draws on psychological concepts to analyse the crisis and its causes. While this is not a ‘How to...’ manual, it provides solutions and suggestions for dealing with a largely unrecognised stage of life.


Managing the Quarterlife Crisis is a light-hearted narrative of the author’s own ‘Quarterlife’ condition, an in-depth commentary on the crisis elements, and a bold search for answers.

“A light-hearted narrative that comments on the crisis elements and boldly goes in search of answers”

- Exclusive Books

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