A sometimes-vague book that nonetheless features some helpful philosophies.

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MEDICAL INTIMACY

A small-town doctor in Iowa explains the methodology of his practice of “medical intimacy,” which he claims has cured ailments that other doctors have deemed incurable.

Time and again in his medical practice, debut author Coram says, he sees patients who’ve been told that there’s no cure for their ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain from injuries, and even cancer. The patients seem beaten down by their diseases, he says, and their doctors have given them no reason to hope. But Coram, who’s been trained as a nurse and a chiropractor, believes that hope—that is, the belief that what one wants to happen can actually happen—is key to the healing process. Coram’s practices draw on spiritual ideas (such as “Merging With Our Source”), conversational therapy, and physical therapy, and he provides long, testimonial-style interviews with past patients who are healing or recovering from a variety of ailments, from eating disorders to cancer. Ultimately, Coram’s belief that the health of the body isn’t solely physical or mental seems sound, and his goals of self-knowledge, self-love, and self-acceptance seem logical and admirable; indeed, they sound a lot like simple mindfulness. Yet what exactly happens during patients’ visits remains vague and unclear, particularly regarding the amount of physical work. At one point, for example, it seems as if the author was somehow able to halt a patient’s cancer simply by talking her through past traumas and pathological triggers. When his patients wax philosophical about their experiences, it appears as if the author is acting more like a therapist and spiritual guide than as a nurse and chiropractor: “When I look at each patient, I see a perfectly well and vital being who has temporarily forgotten who he or she is,” he writes. Still, Coram has an immaculately clean and casual prose style, and his wholeness-first approach to healing is compelling and hopeful—a useful reminder of the power of loving oneself. 

A sometimes-vague book that nonetheless features some helpful philosophies.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7524-5

Page Count: 126

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2017

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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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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

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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

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