A candid, breezy memoir that may inspire even the most dating-averse.

READ REVIEW

DARING TO DATE AGAIN

A MEMOIR

Evans’ (The History of Abortion, 2012) memoir follows her return to the world of dating after two divorces, 12 years of celibacy, and 60 years of living.

In 2003, when Evans had not been on a date in 19 years, she decided to “seek out the touch of a man”—perhaps a courageous choice given what a minefield dating can be at any age. She knew she was taking a risk and defying assumptions: “The normal, respectable sixty-year-old woman was expected to be quiescent sexually—that is what I had expected myself. It was shocking to find out that libido could flame intensely so late in life.” Evans was admirably not quiescent; she was instead proactive in finding sex and companionship. Her primary venues were online, where she encountered men with a wide range of manners and charm. Throughout, she kept an open mind, asking for nonjudgmental clarification when she came across a fetish she wasn’t familiar with and gamely taking trips to such places as a Vermont nude beach. She even traveled to Zimbabwe to meet Guy—a businessman she met on Craigslist—in person. Early on, one of Evans’ friends advised her to turn her dating adventures into “a research project,” and in the sense that Evans is observant, thorough, and informative, her memoir does have a researchlike nature. But it’s also funny and introspective, filled with compassion and written without an ounce of affectation or disingenuousness. Her reflections on the dubiousness of some situations—particularly those relating to the many married men seeking sex—address some of the ethical issues surrounding digital dating, which are well-worth considering. At times, readers may not agree with the author’s stance, but as she notes, she is “not the morality police.” She doesn’t go into detail about her sexual escapades; she’s more interested in exploring the social, biological, and emotional components of sex than depicting the deed itself. Her explorations are illuminating. They’re also a kick, with a surprisingly uplifting effect.

A candid, breezy memoir that may inspire even the most dating-averse.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1631529092

Page Count: 290

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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