A poignant and unsentimental account by a dedicated doctor doing palpable good.

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MAKING A SMALL DIFFERENCE AMID A BILLION PROBLEMS

A close-up, personal look back at humanitarian efforts through the eyes of a doctor who has worked in Haiti and other areas of the world in desperate need of medical care.

Berkowitz, a former Harvard Medical School professor and the founding director of Global Health at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, writes movingly of his days as a young neurologist facing the challenges of saving one Haitian’s life in a country where the vast majority of citizens lack basic medical care. “More than half the population lives on less than two dollars a day, and about a quarter on less than one dollar a day,” he writes. “So patients go to the closest doctor they can find.” When 23-year-old Janel arrived with an extraordinarily large brain tumor, the author hoped for a positive outcome by way of surgery in the U.S. With a novelist’s touch for bringing to life people and places, he tells of the complexities of arranging Janel’s treatment—raising money, getting Janel a passport, finding the surgeon and the hospital—and of the complications that ensued, including surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and rehabilitation. During this learning experience, the young Berkowitz discovered a significant lesson of humanitarian work: that success and failure are not clear-cut. Also vital, he realized, is the importance of remembering the individuality of the patients who make up the statistics of public health. As the Haitian proverb goes, “every person is a person”—“tout moun se moun” in Creole Haitian, a language that appears frequently in the narrative (an English translation follows each instance), which adds unique flavor to the prose. Recalled conversations and text messages abound, giving the text a refreshing immediacy and allowing the personality of each of Berkowitz’s many colleagues to emerge. The author also charmingly recalls his interactions with Partners in Health founder Paul Farmer, a “rock star” in the arena of global health.

A poignant and unsentimental account by a dedicated doctor doing palpable good.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296421-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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