A boldly opinionated, bracingly street-tough memoir.

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ICE

A MEMOIR OF LIFE AND REDEMPTION--FROM SOUTH CENTRAL TO HOLLYWOOD

Once-controversial rapper turned actor’s no-nonsense overview of his life.

Although Ice-T (The Ice Opinion, 1994), born Tracy Marrow, spent his early childhood in quaint Summit, N.J., by his early teens both his parents were dead, and he was living with his aunt in the gangbanger-ruled streets of South Central Los Angeles. Attending infamous Crenshaw High School, he flirted with gang affiliation and criminal activities. While still a teen, he had his own house and lived off social security and the occasional illicit street hustle. Then he joined the Army and trained as a paratrooper. It’s in his post-Army years that the author’s autobiographical confessions start to really heat up. He orchestrated a series of department-store heists around L.A. and beyond, and his adrenaline-rush descriptions of these robberies show what competent criminals could achieve before the advent of sophisticated detection devices. Yet after a few close shaves with the law, he gave up crime to rap about it. Ice asserted himself as the first rapper to talk about street crime using explicit language. By the late ’80s, he was signed to Sire Records and selling hundred of thousands of albums despite little radio airplay. Not long after he established himself in the rap game, he landed substantial acting roles in feature films like Colors and New Jack City. The latter half of the book covers, among other topics, the controversy surrounding the inflammatory Body Count song, “Cop Killer,” his love life, and his thoughts on being an actor (he now stars in Law & Order: SVU). The author is surprisingly self-conscious about criticism directed at him, complaining a lot about “haters,” even though he can be a pretty harsh critic himself. Mostly he uses this book as a sounding board for his no-holds-barred opinions of contemporary hip hop (it’s weak) and culture in general, the cutthroat Hollywood system (where the real gangsters are), money and fame (overrated) and his role as a parent and husband (he’s tough but fair).

A boldly opinionated, bracingly street-tough memoir.

Pub Date: April 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-345-52328-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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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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