A powerfully detailed method of dealing with life’s pains and injustices.




A comprehensive breakdown of the ways in which people subvert and sabotage their own happiness.

Bushman begins his nonfiction debut by defining his terms, specifically warning readers that when he writes about “acceptance,” he’s not talking about resignation, indifference, or any other species of fatalism. His real target is the complacent idea that happiness is somehow a universally guaranteed right and that, therefore, any unhappiness is wrong—a flaw to be corrected, an unfairness to be redressed. “Acceptance does not mean we like or deserve the experience of pain,” he insists. “It also does not mean we like losing something pleasurable.” Rather, he recommends a personal system akin to ancient stoicism, in which one notes that unhappy things are part of human life and can’t be avoided. His book argues that a slightly less immediate perspective is conducive to healthy living: that is, that pain and disappointment can be acknowledged without further reactions such as resistance, pursuit, anger, or judgment. In a series of densely packed, well-written chapters, Bushman anatomizes the various components of “self-lies” that people use to soften their disappointments and rationalize the unfairness of life, and what emerges is a clarifying system of thinking about the world. “We ignore the complaining engine of our psyches because we don’t perceive any other choice,” he writes, and in his chapters on self-destructive behavior, unhealthy emotional strategies, and the paramount importance of self-care, he lays out a program for exercising control over debased habits and lazy patterns. The author packs a great deal of complicated information into his pages, and he delivers all of it with the smooth skill of an expert teacher (he’s taught classes on comparative religion in the past). He also includes many illustrations, including graphs and charts designed to convey multiple steps at a glance; particularly helpful aids crop up during his discussions of brain chemistry.

A powerfully detailed method of dealing with life’s pains and injustices.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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