THE PARTY'S OVER

HOW THE EXTREME RIGHT HIJACKED THE GOP AND I BECAME A DEMOCRAT

With the assistance of Henican (co-author, with Dwight Gooden: Doc, 2013, etc.), the former Republican governor of Florida explains why he is now a Democrat.

Echoing the words of Ronald Reagan, Crist told the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, “I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me.” Many Republicans thought Crist’s betrayal began about four years earlier. At a rally in support of the new president’s economic stimulus package, Crist not only appeared on the same stage as Obama, but got a hug from him to boot. For Republicans, the embrace symbolized Crist’s defiance of current party wisdom that Obama was to be opposed at all costs. For Crist, this Republican “tribalism” was “silly—and wrong,” but his memoir gives evidence that he and his lifelong party had been diverging long before then. Crist was ashamed when the Florida fiasco of 2000 ended with the U.S. Supreme Court awarding the state’s electoral votes and the whole election to George W. Bush, who happened to be brother of then-Governor Jeb Bush. As governor himself six years later, he would upset his party when he pushed to make voting easier for all Floridians, even for former felons. Still calling himself “pro-life,” in practice, he has been loath to use his political offices to come between women and their doctors. As Florida attorney general in 2005, he steered clear of the Terri Schiavo case and was aghast when the Bushes and congressional Republicans tried to use the power of the state to force the comatose woman’s husband to keep her on life support. Democrats, of course, will eat up Crist’s self-presentation as common-sense populist, as well as his unflattering portraits of the Bushes, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin and many other GOP and tea party stars. Republicans will find little to cheer about here, but independent-minded readers might enjoy this front-row view of Florida politics at the turn of the millennium.

 

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-525-95441-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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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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