A touching memoir about a graphic artist devoting his retirement years to Christian ministerial work.



A debut memoir about a lifelong promise made to God.

When McCabe was a boy working in his father’s feed mill in rural Maryland, he spent his free time “talking to the Lord on the railroad tracks.” As these conversations grew easier, he made a deal: if God would permit him to grow up and become a successful commercial artist, he would, in return, retire at the age of 45 and spend the rest of his life serving God as a minister. He received no reply from God, but McCabe did go on to become a successful graphic artist. This plainspoken memoir doesn’t immediately move on to his professional life, however; instead, the author relates his formative years growing up with his taciturn, hardworking father and his well-intentioned mother. “Mom kept telling Dad he would be sorry someday if he did not get to know us before we got older,” he affectingly writes at one point before flatly adding, “But it was too late.” McCabe later attends the U.S. Army Combat Engineer School and then enrolls briefly in the School of Visual Arts in New York City and then the Maryland Institute College of Art before finally landing a series of jobs in the U.S. Government Printing Office in the late 1960s. Complications do arise, however: while working in the government’s Audio Visual Services Division in the late 1970s, McCabe began to experience health problems due to breathing in various chemicals from his graphics work. After some soul-searching, he retires and commences ministerial work, both in prisons and as a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. Throughout this book, the author effectively relates the human side of his various employments, as well as his marriage to his wife, Janice, in a series of well-turned vignettes. Many of these stories will give readers a good sense of what midlevel government work was like on a day-to-day basis a generation ago. Christian readers, in particular, will find it especially pleasant to read this story of a good man’s life in the service of family and God.

A touching memoir about a graphic artist devoting his retirement years to Christian ministerial work.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1490866475

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2015

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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