An effective recruiting poster for women in police work, and a highly readable memoir for law-and-order buffs of whatever...

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MY LIFE ON THE FRONT LINES AS A WOMAN IN THE FBI

Watch out, Clarice Starling—there's a new sheriff in town, and she's the real deal.

Comparisons with the worried FBI profiler who chases Hannibal Lecter around the globe are inevitable; though Thomas Harris may not have based his character directly upon now-retired special agent DeLong, she fits the bill for a real-life counterpart very nicely indeed. DeLong adds a solid entry to the library of real-crime literature, recounting her efforts over a distinguished career to bring all manner of reprobates to justice, from scum-of-the-earth child molesters to more rarified figures like the Unabomber and the Tylenol Killer. Her pages are packed with grim statistics—99 percent of all sex crimes, she notes, are committed by men, a significant number of them over the age of 50; fewer than half of the 200 to 300 children who go missing for more than 24 hours return home alive—but, despite such dour numbers, her narrative is highly personalized and full of juicy anecdotes that make it a (sometimes guilty) pleasure to read. It's clear from those tight stories that DeLong took her work seriously—as she writes, she firmly believes that “the Bureau [is] a big shark fence protecting the world from the dangers and predators of the deep,” though, she adds later, extending the benthic metaphor, “It is up to us as citizens, as a society . . . to decide who should be swimming freely in our midst.” Her devotion to the FBI did not keep her from falling afoul, late in her career, of agency rules forbidding moonlighting, to which she had to turn to pay the bills. DeLong writes effectively and without overmuch rancor about the culture of the FBI, a once males-only club (thanks to former director J. Edgar Hoover's antipathy toward women, institutionalized in an agency-wide conviction that women just couldn't hack the blood-and-guts work of crime-fighting) that she helped storm. When DeLong entered the agency, she notes, “women represented less than 4 percent of the agent force of 8,000.” She adds, “Today we're still a minority but a much more significant one—15 percent of the total of 11,500 agents.”

An effective recruiting poster for women in police work, and a highly readable memoir for law-and-order buffs of whatever persuasion.

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7868-6707-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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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

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.

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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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