A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.

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THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO

The provocative comedian takes to the pen in this unabashed memoir.

Before Schumer was the host of her own Comedy Central TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, and the star of Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck (2015), she was an idiosyncratic and adventurous teenager ready for any eventuality. This readiness was the product of many inconsistencies in her upbringing. Raised in a well-to-do family, Schumer basked in the financial success of her father’s furniture company. But when his business went bankrupt, their family took a hard blow: they left Manhattan for Long Island, her parents eventually divorced, and her ego shattered. Schumer, though, isn’t the type to spend hours dwelling on her unhappiness. Instead, she set out to make herself as impermeable as possible to the criticism, popularity contests, and dejections in her daily life. Structured in short essays, this memoir contains glimpses into Schumer’s roller-coaster life, from the loss of her virginity to her struggles with self-confidence. The author shares intimate excerpts from her personal diaries—with footnotes along the lines of, “I would love to know what the fuck I am talking about here. I must have been reading a heavy-handed Oprah book club pick”—and a series of family color photos. Schumer takes her readers through reminiscences by relating events that have most likely happened to all of us, and she engages readers, shedding new light on her motives and practices. Though the narrative sometimes lacks the literary appeal that distinguishes books from live comedy—and some readers might want to put it down and watch her show instead—it’s consistently funny and highly readable. “Anyone who does stand-up is delusional and masochistic….To get real laughs requires years and years. I got better little by little,” writes the author, who seems to have put the same effort into this candid, entertaining book.

A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3988-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2016

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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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