A refreshingly pleasant addition to the journals of self-discovery, with a timely focus on ecological stewardship.

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ONE MAN'S JOURNEY FROM THE BOARDROOM TO BALI AND BACK

The CEO of a corporation and his family take a sabbatical from a hectic life in New York City and head to Bali to recharge and reconnect.

In his debut memoir, Feder shares an adventure many dream about. It began when he was at a career high point. His wife, Victoria, managed a thriving community center and a preschool she had founded. Their four children were attending a competitive private school. Everybody was overscheduled, living in his or her own world. They needed a break from their safe bubble. Once Feder agreed to take a temporary respite from the breathless, goal-driven pace that had begun to define him, he found himself realizing “that constantly striving to get ahead over the years slowly gnawed at a more humanistic set of values. Outwardly, I maintained a firm position, but I felt the edge had already begun to come off.” After many months of careful preparation, Feder and his family left New York in a December snowstorm and headed to Tanzania, where they spent two weeks on a safari before heading for their reprieve in Bali. The children were enrolled for the spring semester in Bali’s Green School, established by a Canadian expatriate: “The school’s mission statement talked about joy, leadership, and teaching kids to be global citizens.” Feder challenged himself physically through mountain biking and spiritually through yoga, meditation, and drawing. Although occasionally the narrative has the dispassionate tone of a genial tour guide, there are strong moments when the author reveals the excitement of unlocking a new way of experiencing the world: “My drawing opened up a new dimension of travel for me. Spending an hour or so truly observing an image and perceiving the lines, edges, shadows, and perspectives was an unimaginable luxury. I then chose to turn those perceptions into drawings because I would add something of myself to the image, an expression that was personal and unique.” The text bogs down in details of mastering the complexities of yoga exercises, but Feder’s self-deprecating humor remains charming throughout.

A refreshingly pleasant addition to the journals of self-discovery, with a timely focus on ecological stewardship.

Pub Date: April 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63576-367-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Radius Book Group

Review Posted Online: March 27, 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

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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