An often gripping real-life voyage.

No Return Ticket


Rowland’s debut memoir tells a tale of his seagoing trip to Australia, during which he braved storms, hapless crew members, and occasional supply shortages.

The author appears to have been destined for life on the water, as both his father and grandfather were sailors. After a tour as a U.S. Marine, Rowland worked as a salesman for 3M but dreamed of being an adventurer. He commissioned a naval architect to build his first boat, Love Story, but before he could set sail on a planned journey around the world, it disappeared from the marina. Rowland ultimately tracked down its thieves, but the boat, sadly, didn’t survive. By the mid-1980s, he was ready with a new vessel, Endymion, and in January 1987, he and his son, Tony, began their adventure from Newport Beach, California. (The author’s nurse girlfriend, Denise, was temporarily sidelined with an injury, he writes.) The sailors encountered surprising obstacles, including large hawks with the potential to damage instruments and a radio-silent vessel that appeared to attempt a collision with Rowland’s craft. Other people eventually joined the father-son duo on their travels, including Tony’s new pal Kyle; an attorney from Beverly Hills, California; and a hired couple that included another woman named Denise (the author dubbed her “the Amazon” to avoid confusion). The crew endured harrowing storms at sea, and some of its members’ lack of experience proved detrimental at times. But they persevered, spending leisurely hours on islands such as Bora Bora; later, Rowland’s girlfriend reunited with them. This nautical story is, rather appropriately, strongest when it’s at sea, particularly when squalls hit unexpectedly or unseasoned sailors cause problems without malicious intent. The author’s thirst for adventure is infectious, but he also takes solace in prayer, thanking God for his continued survival. He also does some things that may surprise readers, including a decision that has the potential to affect his relationship with his girlfriend. As an author, Rowland is sometimes too frugal with details, although he’s playfully apologetic when referring to a Bora Bora afternoon as “description-defying.” That said, the scenes aboard Endymion are memorable, and it’s sad to see a few crew members go after their shared escapades with the author. There’s intermittent comic relief, too, especially when high prices lead the crew to sacrifice their liquor.

An often gripping real-life voyage.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 311

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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