A witty, charming, and revealing retirement account that lacks pretenses.




A memoir combined with a self-help book explores adjusting to life in a retirement community.

This brief work is a noble effort to expose the emotions surrounding a life-changing relocation. In conversational style, Adler (The Way It Was, 2012) relates her experience of deciding with her husband to move from her longtime home to an apartment in a retirement community. An effective technique in the volume is the use of “two voices,” the author’s “everyday voice…declaring this and that with abandon” and “an inner, more sensible, more informed voice which surfaces now and then.” The work is divided into 27 abbreviated “stages of adjustment,” expressed from Adler’s point of view. The stages help reveal her internal conflict about moving, deftly illustrating that making such a choice is neither easy nor uncomplicated. Contrasting statements such as “I don’t want to live with all those old people” and “Some of these people have led amazingly interesting lives” bring out the author’s complex feelings with refreshing candor. Adler’s reflections on her previous life are filled with poignancy. About her relationships, she writes: “But what I really miss are the neighbors. My friends. These new people are perfectly pleasant, but they’re not my real neighbors, my old good friends.” Her account of what life is like at the retirement community is endearing. For example, she had a wonderful experience taking part in a play: “I met some kindred spirits, and the best part was that I felt like I was part of the gang.” Other descriptions are amusing. At one point, she claims, “I am never going to take the bus,” but later she laments, “Why did it take me so long to discover this bus?…I totally love this bus.” The seesaw nature of the author’s tale continues throughout the volume, but she cleverly keeps the story moving toward a positive conclusion. The audience for this book—individuals who are facing the potentially scary prospect of moving to a retirement community—should find solace in Adler’s insightful observations.

A witty, charming, and revealing retirement account that lacks pretenses.

Pub Date: April 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5439-6619-0

Page Count: 72

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.


A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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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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