Engagingly written and at times useful but comes up short in providing enough detail for readers to truly “kill the dragon.”

Kill Your Dragon. Reboot Your Credit Rating and Live Debt Free

Intended for readers with high credit card debt, this guide lacks sufficient detail but may be motivational to some.

One of the primary culprits of consumer debt is the credit card—a not-so-innocent piece of plastic enabling spending sprees that can sometimes lead to a crushing financial burden for the cardholder. Accumulating credit card debt is the “dragon” in this colorfully written book, which uses several examples, including the author’s own, to dramatize how consumers can get into debt over their heads. The “woe is me” stories can be compelling; those with mounting credit card debt will likely relate to them. However, the author’s approach to solving one’s debt crisis relies on the conceptual rather than the pragmatic. Twelvetrees encourages readers to first “rename your credit cards,” suggesting, for example, “misery cards” or “wallet burners.” Then the author proposes a series of exercises to demonize the cards by building negative stories around them. Readers are instructed to write down a desired purchase in a notebook but not to actually buy it; “Just leave it as a thought purchase,” Twelvetrees writes. Finally, readers are told to “make a statement about a goal you want to achieve. But instead of expressing that goal in the future, you assume it’s already happened.” Toward the conclusion of the guide, the author does provide more specific detail about debt consolidation and credit reports. Still, this book comes across more as motivational cheerleading than substantive advice. While there’s nothing wrong with the visualization exercises Twelvetrees employs, they only scratch the surface instead of addressing the root cause of the problem. Absent are the step-by-step strategies one might use to remove the yoke of unchecked overspending. It seems as if a more in-depth treatment of the subject with actionable tactics would better serve the debt-burdened reader. In addition, since the author writes primarily for a U.K. audience and references U.K. sources, this guide may have less relevance outside that specific market.

Engagingly written and at times useful but comes up short in providing enough detail for readers to truly “kill the dragon.”

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 69

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2013

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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