Nature tales in a plainspoken style that will appeal to hunters and law enforcement officials.


I Didn't Know Game Wardens Did That!

Burkett’s action-packed memoir of a four-decade career within the Game and Fish Department in North Dakota.

Burkett offers this book, his first, as a tribute to his colleagues in conservation and law enforcement, dedicating it to, among others, a colleague whose death in the line of duty comprises a chapter of the book. The work of game wardens—or rangers or conservation officers, as they are known in other states—is little understood, says Burkett. Few realize what widely ranging skills are required to do the job safely and effectively. The author provides ample information about an all-consuming vocation that requires focus and dedication. This is particularly evident in the chapters in which he describes how game wardens are often called upon by other law enforcement and emergency response agencies—drug enforcement, border patrol, homicide, search-and-rescue—to apprehend perpetrators and safeguard citizens. Burkett’s work developing a protocol for a search-and-rescue dive team is impressive, the result of a poorly handled recovery mission that made him aware of the need for better procedures and equipment. Descriptions of flight missions that helped track down missing persons or fleeing robbers can be exciting, though the accounts, written in a dry reportorial writing style, sometimes read like police testimony. The memoir might also have done a better job of advocating for a ranger’s core duty: protecting native wildlife from illegal hunting. It’s clear to any reader, of course, that those who shoot deer or ducks out of season, or without licenses or take too many, are poor sportsmen and are certainly lawbreakers—but it’s less clear why such a remarkable amount of resources—covert operations, DNA testing (for deer), decades-long investigations—are directed to apprehending such malfeasants when it’s perfectly legal to hunt these animals within certain guidelines. “Hunters who exceed the limit effectively steal from the rest of us,” Burkett explains, but he never really discusses the larger issues of wildlife or ecosystem conservation. Animal lovers will weep when they read about the lair of illegal fur-traders, but there’s a sense that the primary focus here is about getting the proper permits.

Nature tales in a plainspoken style that will appeal to hunters and law enforcement officials.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492771883

Page Count: 276

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2014

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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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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.


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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