A raw, honest, and sad memoir.

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TWO FOR YOU, ONE FOR ME

A posthumous debut autobiography supplemented with photographs and commentary by the author’s son.

Richard E. Hernandez, who died in 2012, was born in 1922 in Nogales, Arizona, one of several towns near the Mexican border that would define the early years of his life. By 1927, his father, Edmundo, had deserted his mother, Guadalupe, and she became an alcoholic. She and her son wandered through border towns, mainly in the Mexican state of Sonora. Although she had family members willing to help in Nogales, Mexico, and in Arizona, she was unwilling to stay put: “my mother did not want them meddling in her life, so she stayed as far away from them as she could.” Frequently, the author was left to his own devices, sometimes for days or weeks. His life changed dramatically in 1934, when he was 12 and homeless. He met a man named Miguel Mendoza, at the Agua Prieta border crossing, who brought him back to Douglas, Arizona, and had him declared a ward of the state; he and his wife raised Hernandez until 1936, when the state reassigned custody to his grandparents in Tucson. His initial experiences with instability motivated him to build a productive life as an adult. Extensive descriptions of his time in the Civilian Conservation Corps, his five years in the U.S. Army, his civilian work, marriage, and family life present unique glimpses into prewar and postwar America. The author’s youngest child, Anthony, encouraged him to write down the secrets of his early life, which he’d carried with him in silence for decades. The resulting articulate and emotional prose is generally optimistic but often heartbreaking: “My mother and I must have been quite a sight. Here was a woman, obviously drunk, pulling a sobbing kid, maybe hungry or sick, surely scared, and in my heart embarrassed for the both of us.” Although composed primarily for family members, the story offers a detailed geographical and cultural portrait of the border towns during the Great Depression. The relative ease with which one could cross back and forth between the two countries stands in poignant contrast to today’s reality.

A raw, honest, and sad memoir.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73210-950-6

Page Count: 324

Publisher: 2 for You, 1 for Me Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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

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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

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