A chatty, animated American family pilgrimage that effectively conveys the author’s inward search for spiritual meaning.



A family journeys through India and Nepal in this debut travelogue/memoir by a Northern California midwife.

With her acupuncturist husband and two daughters, the author decided to take a journey to India and Nepal. This adventure led the Moes clan to discover ancient wisdom as they traveled through the Indian subcontinent. They went to Bodh Gaya, site of Buddha’s enlightenment, Cochin where they embraced the hugging saint, Amma, and ultimately Ladakh, where they attended the Kalachakra Initiation ceremony conducted by the aging Dalai Lama. The author includes stories from Buddhist-Hindu tradition that augment her own experiences. The husband, Adam, a practicing Buddhist who had been to India before the family’s trip, rediscovered some of the places that revealed their secrets to him previously, but the emphasis remains on the author’s discoveries. Prior to their travels, both the author and her husband had derived their spiritual sustenance from Rainbow Gatherings where they met and fell in love. The origins of their quest for identity reside in hippie theology, an American mix of Eastern mysticism and meditation. “Before enlightenment, cornflakes and coffee,” the author writes, “After enlightenment, cornflakes and coffee.” Sometimes the author’s observations seem a tad precious, but most of her descriptions of teeming city streets, vibrant landscapes, open country, and the delightful variety of many types of Indians and Nepalese enliven her locations and her spiritual searching. A pall hangs over the narrative of the family’s travels, however; before they departed, the state of California launched an investigation into the midwife practices of the author, an investigation whose dread significance memoirist Moes hints at as they travel and whose significance and outcome she finally reveals. As they go, the author also shows the strife between the author and her husband, a domestic rift that threatens to tear the family apart even as they proceed on their long and precarious Eastern journey. Includes black-and-white photos of the family and their travels.

A chatty, animated American family pilgrimage that effectively conveys the author’s inward search for spiritual meaning.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-561-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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