An absorbing, emotionally raw confessional memoir.



Growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a woman wrestles with faith, family, and her own mind.

Poet, essayist, and fiction writer Myer was shaped by “the limited characters available to women in Mormonism: fallen woman or wife.” In her starkly revealing debut memoir, she recounts her struggle to define herself beyond those two roles, which, she came to realize, were “only a highly concentrated version of America.” Even outside of her religion, she was expected “to be the dentist’s wife, the artist’s wife, the killer’s wife: whoever I hook myself to stains me with his choices.” Her struggle was intensified by her family. Her bipolar mother retreated into depression, which Myer later understood to be rage turned inward; her father protected his wife from their children, leaving Myer feeling abandoned. Molested by a teenage cousin when she was 7, at 12, she encouraged the physical attentions of a 15-year-old neighbor, let the paperboy “(sin sin sin) feel my breasts,” and suffered a sexual assault by a 26-year-old man. That traumatic experience didn’t stop her from going to a man’s hotel room when she was “maybe thirteen….We keep our clothes on, mostly.” Myer calls these encounters “wiving.” As she writes, “I have been wiving since I was a little girl. I am good at wiving. I fail at wiving. Both are true.” Seeing a man happy “will light me up all my life, no matter how many times it is the exact wrong thing to do, the wrong man to cheer.” That is her job, as written in the Scriptures: “and if you are to be good at it, you have to start practicing early.” Promiscuousness also assuaged a fear that she was unlovable, “that, without another person to see me, I disappear, I cease to matter.” Myer recounts in candid detail her process of self-discovery and eventual, hard-won empowerment.

An absorbing, emotionally raw confessional memoir.

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-950691-47-0

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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

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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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