A Book of Answers

This story of personal growth and spiritual exploration, Jett’s debut, is part memoir and part exploration of The Urantia Book, a large religious text that explains a variety of subjects such as the origins of Earth, the nature of evolution and the life of Jesus Christ.
Jett’s book begins with Urantia views on the background of intelligent life on Earth: “500,000 years ago…Lucifer, the System Sovereign of Satania, gave orders to his first lieutenant, Satan, to assign a Planetary Prince to be dispatched to the primitive peoples of Earth.” From there, the book goes on to explain complex topics such as evolution and the afterlife, with a particular focus on the life of Jesus Christ. Following Jesus’ life from his childhood through his Crucifixion and Resurrection, the story is largely a familiar one, though several distinctions are made, including references to Jesus’ contact with other beings: “Before traveling to the city, Jesus was contacted by the Planetary Overseers to ascend the mountain to attend a celestial conference regarding universe matters as they pertained to his bestowal on earth.” Turning from Jesus’ life to the author’s, the book details Jett’s life of constant change, as she lived mostly in Hawaii in the 1970s and experienced a variety of relationships and life paths while consistently exploring The Urantia Book. Dense and surprising at times for readers unfamiliar with The Urantia Book, the concepts here become more grounded when the author explains her own life. Detailing many of the real-world struggles of the Urantia community—many involving copyrights and the complications arising from a text that is purported to come from celestial beings—this book ultimately succeeds in explaining the human side of what may seem to many to be a strange, obscure belief system. Some of the Urantia community’s struggles and Jett’s world travels are less than invigorating—e.g., the author’s impression of Sydney, Australia: “To me it seemed a blend of the best of New Zealand and the best of the U.S., at the same time truly Australian.” Nevertheless, the book offers an accessible introduction to any reader interested in The Urantia Book.

Dense at times but a worthwhile primer for a lesser-known belief system.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2014


Page Count: 565

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2014

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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


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

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