Tiber squeezes life for all it is worth, ringing out the last quarter of the 20th century with the offbeat, at-times twisted...



Tiber picks up where he left off in Taking Woodstock (2007) with this memoir of the years thereafter, pivotal ones both for him and the gay community.

At the age of 34, the author was helping his parents run the bedraggled, customer-free El Monaco motel in upstate New York. A “secretly gay Brooklyn-bred yeshiva boy,” Tiber actually had a life before El Monaco—he was a successful interior designer in Manhattan—but he was a dutiful son, even if his mother was a “smug and kosher bird of prey.” Woodstock, which he helped arrange by getting his neighbor Max Yasgur, “our milkman,” to rent his field for the concert, was his salvation, giving him faith in humanity just when he needed it. This memoir scans Tiber’s life progress since that August weekend in 1969 with a fair degree of adrenaline (“I barreled through the Midwest like a man with his pubic hair on fire”), cogency (despite the wild chronicles of all the recreational intoxicants and late-night, leather-bar sex) and straining-at-the-leash humor. There was a promising, then fizzling, stint in Hollywood, followed by a return to El Monaco, where Tiber managed to sell the place“Is this guy actually about to make me an offer for this shithole?” Then there was Andre, who would become the love of the author’s life and with whom he would launch numerous artistic endeavors. Tiber writes about their life with unvarnished intimacy. Fortunately, Andre brought with him a measure of class to rein in the absurdist, wear-it-on-your-sleeve Tiber, though it has not diminished his zest. His political and literary high points are balanced by the low points of breakups and the AIDS epidemic, captured with dazed immediacy.

Tiber squeezes life for all it is worth, ringing out the last quarter of the 20th century with the offbeat, at-times twisted humor of a survivor.

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7570-0392-9

Page Count: 480

Publisher: SquareOne Publishers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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 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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