Poignant and powerfully affirmative, this account offers an intensive reading experience that should particularly appeal to...




An author and health coach divulges how she overcame abuse and physical and mental anguish to emerge as a strong, compassionate individual.

In her own words, Carranza’s epiphanic debut memoir unfolds “like the plot of a Lifetime miniseries or a telenovela.” And in many ways, it does. She writes frankly about her childhood in Mexico. According to the author, she faced undisciplined sibling abuse at the hands of her older sister while trying to come to terms with a distant mother who “never said the words I desperately needed to hear.” These problems spurred years of deteriorating self-esteem and suicide attempts. Despite the doting adoration of her grandparents and uncle, Carranza felt less than loved. As she matured, her descent into debilitating depression continued after a teenage miscarriage, even while the bond with her father strengthened. The writer’s world crumbled further after her father was brutally murdered at age 43 and she was left with unanswered questions and unprocessed grief well into her adult years. In Carranza’s 20s, while modeling, acting, and carelessly becoming involved with kingpins in the local drug cartel, she entered into what she describes as a seven-year horrifically abusive marriage. Thankfully, she found benevolence and became buoyed by her “Earth angels,” individuals who provided solace, guidance, and unconditional friendship. During the nearly fatal birth of her daughter, the author experienced an extraordinary spiritual vision in which Mary Magdalene appeared before her, reinforcing the message that “if I was strong enough and walked through the fire with love, hope, and faith, I’d make it” and “find Heaven on Earth.” As she relates in her moving book, this ethereal episode prompted her to finally end her tortured marriage and rediscover happiness despite a barrage of physical challenges that lay ahead, including kidney problems and her daughter’s teenage battle with Hashimoto’s disease. Fighting through the fear and shame of a botched childhood, Carranza finally reached a catharsis and emerged as a wholly complete, if weathered, “lioness,” who, as the title suggests, believed that “our lives are like the life of a butterfly.” She also shares what she has found to be the “keys to Heaven on Earth,” which should be profoundly motivational and inspiring to readers in a similar situation as the author. Suffused with painful vulnerability, her emotionally raw and vividly written narrative is bifurcated between the angst of a melancholic life and the lush, poetic revelations that eventually superseded all the darkness that came before it. The chapters in Carranza’s memoir read like emotionally acute diary entries dictating the ebb and flow of a life overcome by tragedy yet ultimately yielding to the light of a new day with endless opportunities to reinvigorate love, perseverance, faith, and joy.  

Poignant and powerfully affirmative, this account offers an intensive reading experience that should particularly appeal to readers who find themselves unfairly battered by circumstances and the cruel slings and arrows of life.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73221-706-5

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Y-O Management

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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