Candid, sagacious writing on illness and adaptation.

READ REVIEW

AGAIN

SURVIVING CANCER TWICE WITH LOVE AND LISTS

This no-nonsense debut memoir recalls Corrigan’s two-time battle with cancer and takes a pragmatic approach toward guiding other patients.

In 1981, at 14, Corrigan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. At 48, and now a wife and mother to three children, the author was told that the cancer had returned in the form of invasive ductal carcinoma in her right breast. In her memoir, Corrigan intertwines both of her survival stories, comparing 20th- and 21st-century treatments. The book describes in unflinching detail the realities of cancer treatment, such as the side effects of drugs associated with chemotherapy: “The bone pain was worse than the blistering rash I had on my hands, arms, and feet.” She recounts the periods approaching her mastectomy and following implant surgery. Corrigan also addresses how she handled post-cancer life, including coming to terms with her prosthetic breasts and with the psychological trauma of illness that persists in recovery. Corrigan’s approach is straightforward and forthright. About having a mastectomy, she writes: “I didn’t think too much about it. My boobs were trying to kill me, and they needed to go.” Despite this directness, her writing is never flippant. Corrigan carefully elucidates her emotions and shares her joys and insecurities. Following her breast reconstruction, she confides: “I felt more like a woman again and less like a doll. I was so thrilled, I posted, The girls are back in town! on my Facebook wall.” Corrigan’s writing is highly approachable, addressing a well-considered range of topics, from exercise to feelings of isolation. Again, Corrigan’s crisp frankness offers a valuable source of sensitive, nonmedical advice on subjects such as the importance of self-trust: “If something feels off, don’t stew on it or ignore it. Talk to your health care team.” Although this memoir may be of most benefit to those diagnosed with breast cancer, Corrigan’s candor and positive approach could well prove a guiding light for those facing any type of serious illness.

Candid, sagacious writing on illness and adaptation.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64663-196-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Koehler Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2020

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?

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

more