Patience is a virtue in this relatable, real-life love story.

DANGLED CARAT

Grossman’s true-life account of her quest for a wedding ring despite a boyfriend wary of commitment.

In her mid-20s, Grossman found herself trying to get past an on-again, off-again boyfriend. Having a nice dinner with her mother, she met a mature man named Marc, who encouraged her to try new things. His gorgeous townhouse on a beach in Long Island wasn’t too shabby, either. As their relationship slowly progressed, Grossman discovered that Marc was known for his aversion to the idea of marriage. But she didn’t want to suffer the same fate as her mother, who had to wait a considerable amount of time for her father to commit; an even bigger fear for Grossman was the possibility that her romance wouldn’t end in a happy marriage like it did for her parents before her father passed away. Marc’s friends and family put pressure on him to pop the question by the time Marc and Grossman left for a New Year’s trip to Florida, and when he didn’t, Grossman was heartbroken—but she decided to give him more time. When another New Year’s rolls around, Marc was uncharacteristically open to the discussion of marriage and even promised that they’ll be engaged by summer. Although she was excited, Grossman wasn’t quite confident that Marc wouldn’t change his mind. Marc’s actions and his caring, loving attitude toward her seemed to outweigh his inability to express himself; however, Grossman says: “Sometimes a girl needs to be told what a guy feels, rather than trying to decipher the signs.” In this nonfiction story, Grossman honestly discusses her genuine insecurities in her life and relationships as she juggles career aspirations and a close relationship with her mother. Marc’s motivations, however, are largely brushed over since Grossman constantly tries to avoid confrontation; nonetheless, the story could have benefited from more of his perspective. Although the drama of it all can be engaging, and Grossman thankfully steers clear of whining, her lack of action can be frustrating even if it’s relatable for women who cling to the hope that someday the right guy will commit. Fans of Sex and the City—Grossman makes a reference to Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big—will enjoy the story, but its real-girl charm should draw an even wider crowd.

Patience is a virtue in this relatable, real-life love story.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 257

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2013

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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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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