A heartwarmingly compassionate memoir of self-discovery among cherished animals in “a scrap of Virginia countryside.”

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THE LAMBS

MY FATHER, A FARM, AND THE GIFT OF A FLOCK OF SHEEP

A former international lawyer tells the story of how she took over a “ratty little farm” in Virginia and became an improbable shepherdess.

When George’s 85-year-old father visited the 27-acre farm she had bought on a whim, he told her that she lived in “poetry country” and that her land needed sheep. Together they went to a local breeder’s home where George eventually purchased 13 lambs she intended to keep as pets. The sheep were Karakuls, a Central Asian breed known for producing wool that carpet and felt makers prized for its beauty and toughness. The author named each sheep after favorite composers like Chopin, Bach, and Mozart, and from the start, she marveled at the personality differences that made each sheep unique. Over the next 13 years, George watched her life transform dramatically. Her days were centered on simpler country rhythms that included shearing, training, and feeding her Karakuls. The sheep became her constant companions on daily walks around her property and attended the occasional gatherings she held at her home. They even befriended her father, who read his favorite literary works among them. Indeed, the link between “The Lambs” and the elder George was so strong that the flock came to symbolize the author’s “most valuable inheritance, the sound of my father's voice repeating the words and images of his dearly loved poetry.” The Karakuls also inspired George to pick up “the thread of my literary life” that she had dropped in pursuit of a successful law career. Illustrated throughout with lovingly captioned photos, the book is not just a testament to the power of human-animal connections. It is also a tender, joyfully eccentric recollection of how a woman rediscovered what was most important to her through a singular relationship with an unforgettable flock of sheep.

A heartwarmingly compassionate memoir of self-discovery among cherished animals in “a scrap of Virginia countryside.”

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-11352-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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