A disappointing addition to the celebrity self-help shelf.

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THE SLEEP REVOLUTION

TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE, ONE NIGHT AT A TIME

A book about sleep deprivation from an author well-versed on the subject.

Co-founder and president of the influential, eponymous news blog, Huffington (Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, 2014, etc.) ranks 52nd on Forbes' list of the most powerful women in the world. She describes her own experience in 2007, when she suffered a burnout and collapsed at her desk. Regaining consciousness, she awoke with an injured cheekbone and her head in a pool of blood. At that time, she slept, at most, four hours each night. Huffington’s situation as a celebrity and mother of two daughters was not dissimilar to that of other successful people today. She estimates that nearly half of American adults are sleep-deprived, and the situation is worse for college students. Our values have become so skewed that all-nighters have become a mark of success. For those looking to get ahead in their careers and others who need to hold two jobs to make ends meet, going without sleep has become the norm. As the author documents, this abuse of our bodies is devastating not only to our health and longevity; job performance and relationships also suffer. Indeed, it is not unusual for drivers to nod off at the wheel. Huffington also looks at the flip side of habitual insomnia. She relates instances where reliance on sleep medications, such as Ambien, has induced potentially dangerous behavior—e.g. sleepwalking, and even driving, in a dazed state. Her takeaway message is that we should prioritize sleeping seven to eight hours every day. With little new insight to add on this well-worked theme, however, the author relies on inspirational nostrums and a host of tired clichés—e.g., “We are not defined by our jobs and our titles…sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are.” Readers looking for effective advice for sleep should turn to a professional.

A disappointing addition to the celebrity self-help shelf.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-90400-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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