A vivid and personal story that turns into an enthusiastic advocacy for electroconvulsive therapy.




An executive coach shares her intimate and informative experiences to help dispel the stigma of clinical depression and electroconvulsive therapy.

By her own admission, Kivler (Mental Health Recovery Boosters, 2013, etc.) had a “charmed life”—she had a loving family, both parents still living, a successful husband, and three children, with a nice house, a dream job, and financial stability. The first attack of “the Beast,” what she came to call her clinical depression, was in 1990. And despite her best efforts to pretend to be OK, numerous battles with the monster and the insomnia accompanying it led to a psychotic episode in which she attempted to convince her husband that he and the children should join her in suicide. While she was hospitalized, medication did little to ease her symptoms, causing her to accept electroconvulsive therapy, with no small amount of hesitancy due to its reputation. Kivler’s recovery after numerous sessions is the driving force behind the book, which seeks to confront the misinformation and notoriety attached to ECT. The author calls out antiquated depictions of ECT in movies like The Snake Pit and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and recalls its barbaric past uses as “cures” for truancy or gay sexuality. The text skillfully walks readers through ECT’s process, starting with the administration of anesthesia and a muscle relaxant beforehand and sometimes talk therapy afterward; the difference between unilateral, bilateral, and brief pulse stimulus treatments; and the side effects, ranging from headaches to memory loss, though the book is light on statistics regarding their frequency or relapse. Utilizing a proprietary “Courageous Recovery Wellness Model” that stresses awareness, acceptance, and continued commitment to health, the volume confronts falsehoods about ECT and clinical depression head on with useful self-care tips and checklists for identifying symptoms. Versions of this model are included not just for consumers, but also caregivers and health professionals. Kivler’s writing is thrifty but surprisingly artful, particularly when speaking about her own experiences. Early on, she sets the scene of a hospital lockdown ward that could have been “on another planet,” a place where “we all lost our ability to walk normally. Feet never really left the ground as we slowly scuffed our way through the halls.”

A vivid and personal story that turns into an enthusiastic advocacy for electroconvulsive therapy.

Pub Date: May 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9844799-3-1

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Three Gem Publishing/Kivler Communications

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2018

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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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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.


The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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