A valuable guide for any reader enduring or recovering from an abusive relationship.




Weber ably shows the ways abuse may be revealed, stopped, and put in the past with healing and reflection.

Debut author and psychologist Weber understands abusive relationships, having worked as a therapist in prisons, courts, and private practice for decades. People often deny that abuse is happening, Weber explains, because of fear of physical violence or losing resources, an inability to accept that another’s behavior is profoundly unhealthy, or many other reasons. One of the guide’s most helpful features is a list the author provides of instances, behaviors, and scenarios that show various forms of abuse, whether sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, or even financial. Weber also depicts the typical stages of abuse—the explosions followed by resolutions, promises to change, and apologies, which quickly build tension toward the next, potentially bigger, explosion. Weber offers suggestions for stopping abuse, even in relationships where the abuse victim desires to work toward change. Asking the abuser to live in a separate household for a period of time to allow safety, peace, and therapy is one of several suggestions the book offers. Additionally, Weber emphasizes the importance of requiring an apology and full accountability for the behavior if the relationship is to be reconciled. The abuse victim must change behaviors as well, such as requiring better treatment and refusing to allow controlling behaviors. Through anecdotes about clients’ stories, Weber illustrates how these damaging behaviors can proliferate, as well as how difficult it can be to recover from them. Weber reinforces that abuse is separate from, and sometimes simultaneous with, love: “Remember that abuse is about power and control, not love. You can love them, they can love you and still abuse you.” The handbook may offer a key to self-discovery, whether the reader is searching pre- or post-abuse. While some client stories are difficult to read, they shed light on the importance of identifying abuse early before marriage, children, and other life circumstances make it difficult to break free of toxic and dangerous situations.

A valuable guide for any reader enduring or recovering from an abusive relationship.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2017


Page Count: 106

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 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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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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