A lively and engaging, if occasionally bombastic, read; shows solid insight into human nature, but leaves any personal angst...

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Break Through Your BS

UNCOVER YOUR BRAIN'S BLIND SPOTS AND UNLEASH YOUR INNER GREATNESS

A self-help guide focuses on exploring one’s own foibles.

“Telling it to you straight” is a phrase that could well apply to this work by self-help book author Doepker (The Healthy Habit Revolution, 2014, etc.). One short, punchy chapter after another brims with rapid-fire advice about how to stop falling prey to internal fears and psychological hurdles. Doepker is relentless at tossing out such nuggets as “Pride is the ultimate impediment to reaching your potential,” “Separate your future possibilities from your current reality, and you’ll have countless options to choose,” and “The longest relationship you’re ever going to have is with yourself.” Much of the book’s content cogently addresses the manner in which just about everybody is, at least to some extent, self-delusional. It also points to the inadequacies, failings, and lack of confidence that may impede people from reaching their highest potential. Still, for those seeking a clear path to self-reliance and self-respect, this volume offers no easy fix. Instead, the author quite intentionally wrestles with issues (including right vs. wrong) and exposes gray areas between the black and white. He even occasionally steps outside himself and engages in a dialogue with his own mind. As he explains, “Do I try to argue with my mind and make it wrong, or do I appreciate what it has to share? I may simply tell my mind, ‘Thank you for sharing,’ and then move on. I don’t make it ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’ ” This notion may be the most intriguing, and for some, unsettling part of this artfully written book; Doepker works hard to keep his own moral judgments outside his purview. What’s more, he admits his goal is to leave one “with more questions than answers.” A tendency toward good-humored vulgarity, tongue-in-cheek verbiage, and silly hashtags could leave some feeling the volume may have been written more as a creative exercise to shock and amuse than to enlighten.

A lively and engaging, if occasionally bombastic, read; shows solid insight into human nature, but leaves any personal angst and uncertainty for the reader to resolve.

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5228-7983-1

Page Count: 316

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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