by Amy Butcher ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2021
A searching and deeply empathetic memoir.
An acclaimed essay writer and memoirist tells the story of her life-changing meeting with a female Alaskan Artic ice road trucker.
Butcher first discovered Joy “Mothertrucker” Wiebe on Instagram, where she fell in love with her photos of the John W. Dalton highway, a road where “more drivers die…annually than anywhere else in our America.” But the connection to Mothertrucker ran deeper than images. Independent and fearless, she “had built her home in a place of unfathomable fear and danger, in a landscape dominated by men and machinery, in an industry and a remote terrain whose googling returns mostly photos of house-high snowdrifts and 18-wheelers crushed and crumpled like pieces of paper, as if God took them in his fist and squeezed.” A successful professor who had navigated a male-dominated professional world, Butcher nurtured a troubling secret: involvement with an abusive boyfriend named Dave. She contacted Mothertrucker after a particularly disturbing bout of verbal abuse and embarked on a six-day interview. Their connection was immediate despite their different backgrounds. Mothertrucker was a working-class Christian with an open, profoundly spiritual view of God. For Butcher, the concept of religion and church was more “complicated,” especially regarding Dave, who loved God and “tried to scream his faith into me.” During their treacherous drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Butcher and Mothertrucker discussed their lives, finding commonality in their experiences with love, bad relationships, and controlling men. A bad first marriage, at age 17, had taught Mothertrucker to value herself and her desires above what her husband wanted; listening to her, Butcher realized what she already knew: Her life was her own, and she could “choose happiness and safety [or] choose Dave.” A sobering reflection on verbal and psychological abuse, Butcher’s book honors the healing power of female friendship and questions the nature of divinity beyond its constricting patriarchal manifestations.A searching and deeply empathetic memoir.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021
Page Count: 284
Publisher: Little A
Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021
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by Britney Spears ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 24, 2023
Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.
A heartfelt memoir from the pop superstar.
Spears grew up with an alcoholic father, an exacting mother, and a fear of disappointing them both. She also displayed a natural talent for singing and dancing and a strong work ethic. Spears is grateful for the adult professionals who helped her get her start, but the same can’t be said of her peers. When she met Justin Timberlake, also a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel’s updated Mickey Mouse Club, the two formed an instant bond. Spears describes her teenage feelings for Timberlake as “so in love with him it was pathetic,” and she’s clearly angry about the rumors and breakup that followed. This tumultuous period haunted her for years. Out of many candidates for villains of the book, Timberlake included, perhaps the worst are the careless journalists of the late 1990s and early 2000s, who indulged Timberlake while vilifying Spears. The cycle repeated for years, taking its toll on her mental health. Spears gave birth to sons Sean Preston and Jayden James within two years, and she describes the difficulties they all faced living in the spotlight. The author writes passionately about how custody of her boys and visits with them were held over her head, and she recounts how they were used to coerce her to make decisions that weren’t always in her best interest. As many readers know, conservancy followed, and for 13 years, she toured, held a residency in Las Vegas, and performed—all while supposedly unable to take care of herself, an irony not lost on her. Overall, the book is cathartic, though readers who followed her 2021 trial won’t find many revelations, and many of the other newsworthy items have been widely covered in the run-up to the book’s release.Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.
Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023
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by Barbra Streisand ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.
A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star.
When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long—but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, “It’s not just the gift, it’s the willingness to take infinite pains.” The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has—including her mother’s scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer—into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand’s spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn’t want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: “Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential.”What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 992
Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023
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