An encouraging story of personal growth after a life-altering medical event.

IDENTITY THEFT

REDISCOVERING OURSELVES AFTER STROKE

Meyerson, a former Stanford University professor, looks at how the experience of a stroke affects one’s concept of identity.

On Labor Day weekend in 2010, while on a hiking trip with her family, Meyerson had a “weird” feeling in her right leg: “neither uncomfortable nor painful, not numb or asleep, just…not right.” It was the first sign that she was experiencing a stroke that reduced blood flow to her brain. It caused her to lose her ability to communicate her thoughts via speech or writing. She’d long studied how personal identity shapes one’s experiences; this book looks at how the traumatic experience of a stroke shapes identity. It also aims to offer hope to stroke survivors as they adjust to their new normal. Although the book is written in the first-person singular, the “I” refers to her writing team, made up of her credited co-author son Zuckerman, her husband, and others—which is “a good example of how life has changed” for the author. What sets this book apart from other, similar guides, though, is its focus on stroke survivors’ emotional journeys. People recovering from strokes are often asked to focus on their physical recoveries, and they often receive relatively little psychological support, the author notes. Her book clearly shows the benefits of focusing on the emotional side of the recovery process. Along the way, Meyerson walks readers through psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and quotes authors, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, who’ve written about post-traumatic growth and grief. She also assures readers that they, too, can build resilience as she has. The book presents stories of other stroke survivors, including a 13-year-old who suffered his event at football practice; a man whose stroke put him on a ventilator and who can now do four sets of 25 pushups; and a woman who fought to regain her long-term disability benefits. Overall, Meyerson has written an inspiring guide for anyone starting down their own road to recovery.

An encouraging story of personal growth after a life-altering medical event.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4494-9631-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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