A fast-paced, optimistic memoir.

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AND ALL THE QUEEN'S MEN

An unabashedly honest, introspective and moving debut memoir focusing on the author’s relationships with the men in her life.

Sessa grew up in a Philadelphia suburb, dealing with her long-suffering mother and emotionally abusive father—a central influence on her later outlook on relationships. However, her family lived a life of luxury, traveling around the country and spending summers in Beverly Hills, Calif. While vacationing there as a teenager, the author met Ellis, a handsome man from a wealthy family whom, due to pressure from her father, she married while still a teenager. Although at first she was dazzled by Ellis and his lavish relations, her naïveté, youth and unhappiness soon became evident: “[B]ehind this illusion, evenings and weekends with Ellis seemed endless, like sitting in a stalled car.” After several years in an unhappy marriage, she divorced Ellis and married Myles, a doctor who was far more charming and sexually compatible. Soon, however, her second marriage felt like a prison, and she grew to despise her husband’s sexual advances and hostility. She threw herself into her career as a TV commercial producer in New York City and took several lovers as a means of escape. Twenty years later, she divorced Myles and dated a series of boyfriends, including Aaron, an attractive ad executive, and Art, a retired art dealer. Through these men, the author writes, she learned how to be in a loving relationship while balancing her own independence and aspirations. She experienced true love, heartbreak, anger, and even the death of a close friend before she married her third husband, Joe, with whom she says she’s the happiest. Sessa is a talented storyteller, and her candid, poignant and often sassy prose allows readers to relate to her young-adult immaturity, her later pain and frustration and her eventual joy. She successfully weaves together her different experiences with men into a powerful, thought-provoking message: One must turn mistakes into positives in order to grow and learn from one’s past.

A fast-paced, optimistic memoir.

Pub Date: July 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1939447012

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Dunham Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

THE DYNASTY

Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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