An odd, disjointed memoir/guidebook about writing.

READ REVIEW

THREE TIDES

WRITING AT THE EDGE OF BEING

What is introduced as a writing guide becomes something very different in its execution.

As a novelist, creative writing teacher, and founder and director of an experimental theater, Pineda (Apology to a Whale: Words to Mend a World, 2015, etc.) has a variety of perspectives on the process through which a creative impulse becomes a published work. Her introduction to this book suggests that it is “designed to offer a pathway…you the writers are invited to follow.” Yet the connections among the three different sections that follow are personal, elusive, and tenuous, offering only the vaguest relation to the three stages of writing (emptying, gathering, making something) she introduces. The first section offers her “process memoir of the years 2002-2007,” when she was often traveling in Europe, reuniting with old friends, becoming increasingly enraged by America’s military engagement under George W. Bush and what she viewed as his administration’s criminal neglect of post-Katrina New Orleans. “Tucked away in my backpack, the passport I carry reads the United States,” she writes, “but it’s the passport of a country I no longer recognize.” In the second section, Pineda delves into oral histories of Katrina survivors. “I have listened now to enough folks to recognize that this event is a story that must be told,” she writes. “And told in the voices of the folks whose lives have been forever changed by it.” Those voices could fill a book, and they have filled many—but not this one. The last section is an unusual play dominated by monologues about Japanese villagers whose village has disappeared. “The play presents the reasons for their displacement,” writes Pineda after explaining how the work was initially a novel, before “it decide[d] it want[ed] to become…a work for theater.” Though it has some connection to the author’s own displacement in the first part and to the oral histories of displacement from New Orleans in the second, it mainly confirms that the ways of this particular writer are mysterious indeed.

An odd, disjointed memoir/guidebook about writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-930324-92-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Wings Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more