A solid, engaging memoir of an Arizona kid whose gumption carried him to crime fighting’s front lines.

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If Ya Gotta' Little Luck

Turner (Let Me Finish This Beer and We’ll Go Catch Somebody, 2011) writes of his earthy upbringing in the American West and his long career in law enforcement.

The author offers a homey ride-along of his eventful life focusing on his time in law enforcement alongside an ensemble of buddies and baddies. Turner is an unpretentious, natural storyteller but plays most of his political opinions and policy outlooks close to the Kevlar vest. He was born in 1935 in Amarillo, Texas, a place where a toxic local zinc-smelting works was the only career option for most “good ole boys” and often led to an early grave. After his parents divorced, Turner passed from one colorful relative to another, and many members of his rough-and-tumble clan seemed to have had shady side enterprises (mostly moonshine-related)—an ironic fact, considering Turner’s later career. After enlisting in the Navy just after the Korean War, young Turner tried one factory job after another until he found a slot in 1958 with the Border Patrol, which posted him at various times in Arizona, California and at the U.S.-Canadian border. Turner (called “Tuni” by many non-English speakers) lists the many malcontents and miscreants that he encountered on both sides of the law, and he sometimes counts himself among the latter; the colorful title refers to a commendation that Turner received for nabbing an undocumented Mexican on a day he otherwise spent napping at his post. Overall, however, readers will get a sense of Turner as a hardworking, fair-minded country cop. For example, in 1968, Turner collared a polite junkie named Lowell, who was entering Mexico to get his heroin fixes; since Lowell was a rare recreational user who wasn’t involved in smuggling, Turner left him alone thereafter. Turner’s tales of fighting international drug traffic dominate the latter part of the narrative, although readers seeking French Connection–style excitement will have to look elsewhere—the times that the author fired his gun during his career principally involved target-shooting contests.

A solid, engaging memoir of an Arizona kid whose gumption carried him to crime fighting’s front lines.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1492131106

Page Count: 470

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2013

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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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