A one-of-a-kind slugger keeps his uniform clean in this chronicle of his days in baseball.



The ups and downs of a legendary baseball career.

In an introduction that covers his early years in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz, who co-authored this book with sportswriter and radio host Holley, notes that he defied heavy odds just to survive, much less become a successful professional player. No one who follows baseball will deny that he was an imposing presence or that he was one of the finest clutch hitters of all time. He was a major contributor to the reversal of the historical misfortunes of the Boston Red Sox, beginning with their World Series victory in 2004 and continuing with another in 2007. After the 2013 Patriot’s Day Marathon bombing, Ortiz became one of the voices of “Boston Strong” and helped the team, and the city, to a therapeutic World Series victory. Along the way, there were, of course, bumps in the road. Ortiz feels he was underestimated by his first big league manager, Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins, and that his uneven start in the majors was primarily due to this. In 2009, Ortiz was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs and suffered a slump that had many observers suggesting he was finished. His marriage fractured, though he does not say exactly why, and he had more troubles with a manager, this time Bobby Valentine, in 2012, and recurring contract issues. Ortiz describes a few of his teammates, most notably Manny Ramirez, who was both “a hitting genius” and unpredictable and “rude,” and Jon Lester, a pitcher who recovered from cancer to return to the big leagues. Ortiz appears positive, constructive, and determined to succeed, and though he deploys a few vulgarities for effect, nothing upsets his cheerful optimism. There are a few intriguing behind-the-scenes anecdotes, but Ortiz offers little self-critical thought. Readers who have already canonized Big Papi will be reassured, but those who hoped to meet a more rounded, multidimensional human will struggle to find him here.

A one-of-a-kind slugger keeps his uniform clean in this chronicle of his days in baseball.

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-81461-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2017

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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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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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