High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump, “so uniquely...

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BORN TRUMP

INSIDE AMERICA’S FIRST FAMILY

“Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Ever.”—X-ray meets psychoanalysis and balance sheet in this sharp-edged look at the workings of America’s most dysfunctional gang.

When your father is angry, absent, and egomaniacal, it stands to reason that you might turn out a little different from other people—and especially if you throw a lot of money into the equation. So it is, writes Vanity Fair senior reporter and former White House intern Fox, that the Trump family, formed of wives and ex-wives and mistresses and their various offspring, has emerged, with the patriarch’s peculiar brand of tutelary wisdom: Don’t ever trust anyone, even if that anyone is a member of your own family. In one small but telling passage, Trump asks a confidant what to do with two sons of such divergent abilities as Don Jr. and Eric; when told that he should give the smarter all the challenges he could come up with and the less smart all the challenges he could handle, the answer came back that it was a nice idea, less nice in practice, “because they figure out that’s what you’re doing.” By Fox’s account, the most real-worldly of the sons is Don Jr., who carved his own course for at least a time, even if he morphed into “a yapping attack puppy, trailing wherever he went the senior attack dog with the much bigger bark.” Canine metaphors aside, Melania comes in for the tiniest amount of sympathy, and perhaps Ivanka too, though a juicy bit of dish comes with the author’s account of the zeitgeist-innocent first daughter’s ill-conceived and certainly ill-delivered homily to working women, a failure that, one publishing executive says, "was a bloodbath.”

High-level gossip of a kind, but a well-sourced, train wreck–fascinating look at the makings of Clan Trump, “so uniquely suited for the second decade of the twenty-first century and its fame-obsessed, money-hungry, voracious twenty-four-hour cycle of a culture.”

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-269077-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2018

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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