Captivating, artfully wrought tales.

READ REVIEW

THE MOTH PRESENTS OCCASIONAL MAGIC

TRUE STORIES ABOUT DEFYING THE IMPOSSIBLE

Heartfelt stories bear eloquent witness to hopes, dreams, and triumphs.

Storytelling—in theaters, on a podcast, and on a weekly public radio show—is the mission of the nonprofit organization The Moth. From the thousands of stories shared since its founding in 1997, editor Burns (The Moth Presents All These Wonders, 2017, etc.), the organization’s artistic director, offers selections from an international roster of presenters. Some storytellers may be familiar to readers: Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash reflects on feeling anxious and disoriented after moving to New York with her children after her divorce. On a similar theme, New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik considers how his daughter’s imaginary friend taught him what he really wanted from living in Manhattan. Psychologist and memoirist Andrew Solomon writes about starting his own “post-nuclear family” with his husband despite “complicated and difficult and elaborate circumstances.” Emmy-winning performer Faith Salie relates her obsessive search for the perfect dress to wear to divorce court. Most voices are new, imparting intimate, moving anecdotes about life, love, friendship, parenthood, and identity. Several presenters disclose the tensions over coming out as gay, dealing with poverty and homelessness, or confronting others’ perceptions of oneself as different. Undergraduate Aleeza Kazmi, of Afghan and Pakistani heritage, proclaims that she has “worked so hard to love the skin I’m in, and nothing anyone says can take that away from me.” Activist Barbara Collins Bowie recalls growing up in Mississippi during Jim Crow, when her mother’s health crisis made her realize that the civil rights movement was “a fight for life and death.” Mary Theresa Archbold, who stealthily hid her prosthetic arm from friends and roommates, writes of the challenges of being a one-armed mother of an infant. British polar explorer Ann Daniels, mother of triplets, risked her life in defiantly trekking to the North and South Poles. Vietnamese engineer Jason Trieu tells the wrenching story of escaping from South Vietnam two weeks before the region fell to the North, one of several tales of resilience and determination in the face of terror.

Captivating, artfully wrought tales.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-90442-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF 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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more