A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

CONVERSATIONS ON TRAUMA, RESILIENCE, AND HEALING

A collaborative look at brain trauma and methods to alleviate the potentially lifelong effects.

Child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry teams with Winfrey to examine traumatic injury caused by an abusive childhood. The book is formatted in a conversational interview format, with Perry sharing his insights on stress, brain biology, and physiological response, offering new approaches to emotional and psychological pain. Using medical models, Winfrey’s personal experience, and Perry’s years of research, the authors demonstrate the brain’s resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations, particularly when paired with psychopharmacological remedies, natural interventions, and behavioral treatments. This process of neural recalibration works wonders in instances of deeply embedded trauma and abuse, allowing people to live better lives through newly invigorated self-worth. Winfrey candidly shares difficult memories of a childhood where regular whippings (as early as age 3) were “accepted practice” and there were expectations of silence and a smile in their aftermath. In addition to this early trauma, she recounts her difficult adult relationship with her mother, which culminates in a powerful scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mother’s bedside, unable to address her. She admits that while collectively these events manifested into her adult relationships and behavior, she eventually processed and embraced the trauma as an opportunity for healing and a way to move forward. With proactive conviction, the authors help readers to recognize their own internalized trauma and encourage the reshaping of personal paths toward wellness and “to excavate the roots that were put down long before we had the words to articulate what was happening to us.” Through therapeutic frameworks and the curative power of community, belonging, human connection, and mindfulness, the authors show how renewal of mind and spirit is attainable. Though many of these issues have been addressed before, Perry and Winfrey’s partnership is notable, and their book is worthy of attention.

A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22318-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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