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ALL MY KNOTTED-UP LIFE

A MEMOIR

The frank views expressed in this remembrance will divide opinion, but the quality of Moore’s writing is indisputable.

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Living Proof Ministries founder Moore opens up about a range of topics, including her split with the Southern Baptist Church, in this memoir.

Born in Wisconsin and raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1957, the author regularly attended the Southern Baptist Church from a young age. She describes in detail her immersion baptism at 9 years of age, remarking, “I’d been buried with Christ in baptism and raised…to walk in newness of life.” Moore’s upbringing is described with a veneer of normality, recalling family camping vacations in a Volkswagen bus. However, a darkness is evident when the author states, “No kind of good dad does what my dad did to me.” Her memoir approaches not only the horror of abuse, but also the early trauma of her mother’s deteriorating mental health. At 18, Moore experienced a distinct moment when she sensed “God’s presence” and felt a call to vocational Christian service. Milestones in Moore’s life include marrying and becoming a mother and founding Living Proof Ministries in 1994, dedicated to “encouraging women to know and love Jesus through the study of Scripture.” She attained celebrity status with her church and never shied away from expressing her opinions. The author candidly addresses the time she called out Donald Trump following the publication of the notorious Access Hollywood tape in 2016: “You think this kind of talk is okay?...Do you happen to know women who have had hands forced on them?” Moore also discusses how she handled backlashes and Twitter blow-ups, along with her motivations for ending her affiliation with the Southern Baptist Church.

Moore’s memoir is punctuated with thoughtful statements that elucidate her understanding of life, as when she discusses the mentors that inspired her the most: “Each made a deep indentation, a bold point with a permanent marker. Draw lines connecting them, and they form a triangle that shaped my entire ministry life.” Such solemnity is offset with a generous dose of humor, such as when Moore recalls her baptism: “Even though this is what I’d come for, I was still a good bit surprised by the swiftness of the dunking.” In such moments, those familiar with Moore will recognize her oratorical energy in her writing. When examining her deteriorating relationship with the Baptist church, Moore remains candid and does not overlook self-scrutiny: “Something was happening to us. Something bad. Maybe it had been happening all along and I was too blind to see it. Too busy in my own world. Too privileged. Too partial. Too immersed.” Moore writes of abuse she faced as a child and does so with graceful prose: “Different slices of the same secrets are on our plates.” The author lays down her beliefs with bold clarity throughout: “I am pro-life as well. Not just antiabortion, but pro-life, across the board from conception to coffin or cremation.” Readers may not share Moore’s beliefs, but the one million Twitter followers she’s amassed will be eager to learn more about the life story that forged this well-known evangelist.

The frank views expressed in this remembrance will divide opinion, but the quality of Moore’s writing is indisputable.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9781496472670

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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