An entertainingly anecdotal, candid, and perspicacious account of a psychiatrist’s career.

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A psychiatrist reflects on a long career filled with intriguing patients.

Over the course of debut author Green’s stint as a psychiatrist—he spent 46 years in practice—he encountered just about every kind of patient, the most memorable of which he charmingly chronicles in this recollection. He divides his brief memoir into short-term cases (sometimes a specific problem is adequately addressed quickly or a patient simply abandons treatment) and long-term ones—Green treated one woman for about 30 years. Between those two categories, he groups the patients he managed thematically: anxiety, homesickness, suicide, and more as well as ones that illustrate the mistakes he’s made. In one grouping labeled “Love,” the author freely admits he doesn’t know how to define romance (“I’m just a psychiatrist”), an endearingly unaffected moment of humility characteristic of the entire book. Some of the problems recounted to Green are peculiar—a successful professor simultaneously grieves the loss of a child and his uncommonly small penis. In another instance, the author treated a man who murdered his fiancee when she tried to end the relationship. Along the way, Green lucidly offers the lessons he’s learned, including the limitations of a psychiatrist’s power to produce a cure. He also provides some more general reflections on the psychological state of society, including, for example, the manner in which the current opioid crisis mirrors a general failing on the part of communities at large. The author’s work, while intellectually rigorous, is not written in the dry academic language of a clinician, but is refreshingly informal and unabashed. He doesn’t hesitate to call one patient a “very crazy woman.” And his advice to anyone being doggedly pursued by a potentially violent stalker is not what readers might expect: “Although it is difficult to do, moving far away, remaining incognito, seems like the only safe way. I, myself, would do either that or carry a pistol and if the guy broke the restraining order and came to see me anyway, I would shoot both of his kneecaps while backing off.” Especially for readers about to embark on a career in psychiatry or mental health, this book delivers a cheerfully wise and delightfully frank meditation on an eventful professional life.

An entertainingly anecdotal, candid, and perspicacious account of a psychiatrist’s career.

Pub Date: April 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8315-3

Page Count: 82

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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