A mildly diverting, modestly charming memoir from a surprisingly multifaceted showbiz survivor.

READ REVIEW

CHEECH IS NOT MY REAL NAME

...BUT DON'T CALL ME CHONG

The straight dope from Cheech.

Marin, half of the storied stoner comedy team Cheech and Chong, recounts his life and career with this slight, genial memoir. The son of a hard-nosed cop, Richard “Cheech” Marin (b. 1946) spent his early life in East Los Angeles’ violent ghetto on the straight and narrow, earning good grades and serving as an altar boy. The Vietnam War changed everything, as Marin turned in his draft card and decamped for Canada, where he met local musician and scenester Tommy Chong and joined his improvisational comedy troupe. “I had turned in my draft card,” he writes, “philosophically denying the government’s authority over me and at the same time choosing to go to Canada to pursue my artistic calling as a potter. It was a philosophical two-fer.” Marin and Chong hit it off, and their loose, rambling, pot-inflected comedy bits quickly made them a sensation, leading to lucrative tours, albums, and movies before the buzz wore off and the pair split in the mid-1980s. Marin is diplomatic about his clashes with Chong, who comes off here as aggressive and insecure about credit, leavening all complaints with affirmations of Chong’s singular, charismatic talent. Mellow in his recollections to a fault, the author acknowledges his fondness for marijuana, but he does not offer salacious, drug-fueled anecdotes or other tales of wild, countercultural bad behavior. Instead, he focuses on the duo’s creative process, warm family memories, post–Cheech and Chong collaborations with Robert Rodriguez and Pixar, and the creation of his personal film Born in East LA (1987). Droll and affable rather than outrageous and subversive, Marin is pleasant company, but general readers may wish for less data on the author’s Chicano art collection and more hysterical, hairy tales of ’70s-era excess.

A mildly diverting, modestly charming memoir from a surprisingly multifaceted showbiz survivor.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4555-9234-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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?

more