An important cautionary memoir about the dangers of everyday chemicals and environmental toxicity and its lethal...

READ REVIEW

POISONED

HOW A CRIME-BUSTING PROSECUTOR TURNED HIS MEDICAL MYSTERY INTO A CRUSADE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VICTIMS

The story of a Florida attorney who nearly died from a mystery illness borne in a high-rise office building.

Bell, a former organized crime prosecutor, harrowingly details the sinister malady that robbed him of his livelihood and nearly his life. He first began experiencing symptoms in 1988 while working high above Fort Lauderdale in a newly constructed office building. The author’s youthful aspirations included aiming high for the U.S. Senate, but his plans took a detour with family life, child-rearing, and a potentially deadly new health problem. Episodes of shortness of breath, waves of nausea, and vertigo became more prevalent and vexing, and though diagnosed and treated for pneumonia and a fungal throat infection, the inexplicable symptoms continued, morphing into an all-encompassing sickness that perplexed medical specialists. With some diligent research, Bell eventually began correlating his deteriorating health to a human poisoning condition called “sick building syndrome,” which surfaced in the 1970s when buildings were sealed to conserve energy. The author was eventually forced to exist in a sterile bubble as his sensitivity to chemicals and airborne irritants increased and radical detoxification efforts failed. Though his marriage collapsed during his crisis, things did improve once he began treatment for lesions on his brain, doubtlessly exacerbated by exposure to toxins. Though Bell’s life span and vitality have been severely compromised by this ordeal, he educates and forewarns others by citing several intriguing cases of environmental poisoning involving black mold, neighborhood pesticides, and an unregulated toxic waste dump. All of these examples reinforce the new career direction he now takes in advocating for victims of environmental and chemical injury. His frustration with the current lack of governmental awareness and action is clearly evident, though Bell does his part in generously sharing pages of lifestyle modifications geared toward detoxifying the home and one’s lifestyle.

An important cautionary memoir about the dangers of everyday chemicals and environmental toxicity and its lethal consequences.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0264-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more