A moving, genuinely uplifting tale that highlights how resilient the human spirit can be.

THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF BLONDY BARUTI

MY UNLIKELY JOURNEY FROM THE CONGO TO HOLLYWOOD

An inspiring true story about the power of hope, optimism, and grit in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

In his debut, former college basketball player and actor Baruti candidly chronicles his eventful life, from his poverty-laced childhood in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to his unlikely ascent starring in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The author begins with some cursory information about his genealogy before plunging into his family’s flight from their home and struggle to survive the horrific violence of civil war, all before the author was 10 years old. When the violence in the country became somewhat tolerable, his family settled in Kinshasa, where Baruti developed an obsession with basketball. He secured a scholarship to a prep school in America, but things went awry due to a self-interested distant cousin in the States, culture shock, an unsympathetic coach, and the ever looming threat of an invalid visa. Suspense builds as Baruti chronicles how he navigated the labyrinthine protocol of U.S. immigration law and the effect it had on his ability to play college basketball in his new home. But that was only one of the many hurdles that could have dashed his dreams at any moment. All of this drama unfolds in short, snappy chapters, and the author’s voice is friendly, clear, and direct. Much of the book centers on his love of basketball, but one needn’t be a sports fan to enjoy the book. Baruti’s optimism is so infectious and believable that readers can’t help but root for him; what may seem like naïve optimism masks an intelligent, steadfast, and defiant unwillingness to give up, no matter the odds. The author suffered countless setbacks on his journey. Consequently, by the time he makes it to Hollywood and lands a small role in a major film, readers will feel a palpable sense of triumph.

A moving, genuinely uplifting tale that highlights how resilient the human spirit can be.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6499-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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