A worthy companion for those looking for support during the grieving process.

FAITH WALK

ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY TO FINDING HERSELF

This inspiring debut memoir of one woman’s journey through grief shows how new beginnings can arise at unexpected times.

After the devastating loss of her father in February 2010, Montgomery writes, she felt like a shadow of her former self. Unable to imagine a life without her dad, she found herself falling into a deep depression. What she never anticipated, however, was a life-changing epiphany that would radically alter her worldview—that those that we love are never really gone: “I knew in my heart that my dad was still there with all of us, if only in a different way.” This simple realization quickly became a catalyst for what she felt was a more purposeful life—she later left a career at a nonprofit to work as a life coach—and it allowed her to find herself in the process. Rather than let overwhelming sadness destroy her, the author writes, she found a renewed faith in God: “This is my story of taking loss and living more fully despite it.” Indeed, loss takes on many forms throughout Montgomery’s life, including heartbreak and divorce. Her strong faith was not easily won, she notes, but she emphasizes the importance of having an open heart. In this book, Montgomery aims to remind others that the death of a loved one can be an invitation to live a richer, more satisfying existence, and she brings a courageous tone to the concepts of loss and grief. Overall, the author’s style is both intimate and revealing; readers will feel as if they’re having a one-on-one conversation with a warm and supportive friend. Inspiring poems by others are scattered throughout, including Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s famous work “The Invitation.” Also included is a small collection of prayers for different circumstances, meant to guide readers toward healing and forgiveness. An invigorating feeling of empowerment is evident throughout, even in the choices of chapter titles: Chapter 7, for example, is called “Kick F-E-A-R to the C-U-R-B.”

A worthy companion for those looking for support during the grieving process.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982214-10-4

Page Count: 204

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2019

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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