The author provides valuable insights into the pressures facing not only the parents of young cancer victims, but also the...

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CHAD'S TRIUMPH

THE CHAD GREEN STORY

The mother of a childhood leukemia patient remembers the landmark battle over his treatment.

Debut author Meyer became a champion of parents’ rights after her toddler son Chad Green was diagnosed with leukemia in 1977. In defiance of a Massachusetts court order requiring that the boy continue chemotherapy, she fled with him to Mexico so he could receive alternative treatment, including laetrile, a controversial remedy derived from apricot seeds. Chad died in 1979, at the age of 3. Now in this book, Meyer provides a thorough account of the battle that pitted her against the medical establishment. “It’s of utmost importance to me...to enable others to see Chad not just as a cause or a newspaper story; he is a brother in arms to all children who suffer with an incurable disease,” she writes. The book spares few details of Chad’s diagnosis and initial treatment by a pediatric cancer specialist, Dr. John Thedman, at Massachusetts General Hospital. As Chad receives his first spinal tap, his mother “suffered with him, wishing I could take his place; praying for some miracle to release my baby from this nightmare.” Wishing to counter the side effects of the chemotherapy, Meyer and her then-husband fed him carrot juice and vitamin supplements but encountered almost universal opposition from the hospital staff. “Mrs. Green, nutrition does not work!” she recalls Thedman telling her. The “tug-of-war” over Chad’s treatment ended up in court, where, at one hearing, Thedman testified that the enzyme enemas the patient was receiving at home might give him an anal fixation. That, Meyer later responded, was like saying swallowing all of Thedman’s pills would “give Chad an oral fixation.” More secular readers may struggle to get past the book’s strong religious undercurrent—the author is a devout Baptist who began speaking in tongues “joyously” after viewing a show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. But Meyer delivers a compelling and often chilling examination of the court clash. Her story will likely tear at readers’ hearts as she travels from maternal indignation to an acceptance of the demands that both sides of the fight over Chad confronted. “It is a heartfelt tragedy,” she concedes, “that instead of cooperation, our issues placed us in a war that had no victors.”

The author provides valuable insights into the pressures facing not only the parents of young cancer victims, but also the doctors who treat them.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5174-0693-6

Page Count: 164

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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