A pithy, upbeat memoir by a self-described romantic feminist.

THE SOUL OF A WOMAN

The popular Chilean novelist shares life's lessons.

Approaching 80, Allende offers wise thoughts on aging, romance, sex, love, and, above all, her feminism—which began in kindergarten, when she saw her mother, abandoned with three small children, forced to become dependent on men. “I became obsessed with justice,” writes the author, “and developed a visceral reaction to male chauvinism.” Angry and often rebellious, Allende was “expelled from school—run by German Catholic nuns—at age 6, accused of insubordination; it was a prelude to my future.” Thankfully, her doting grandfather, although “the unquestionable patriarch of the family,” encouraged her abilities; “he understood the disadvantages of being a woman and wanted to give me the tools I needed so I would never have to depend on anyone.” Married at 20 and soon a mother of two, Allende felt stifled until she joined the staff of Paula magazine, where writing provided an outlet for her restlessness. The author charts the evolution of her own “fluid, powerful, deep” feminism as it relates to her self-image. While she refuses “to submit to the Eurocentric feminine ideal—young, white, tall, thin, and fit,” she does “jump out of bed an hour before everybody else to shower and put on makeup because when I wake up I look like a defeated boxer.” Now happily married to her third husband, Allende claims that “love rejuvenates” and that after menopause, life gets easier, “but only if we minimize our expectations, give up resentment, and relax in the knowledge that no one, except those closest to us, gives a damn about who we are or what we do.” Buoyed by the “spiritual practice circle” she dubs the “Sisters of Perpetual Disorder” and involved in a foundation dedicated to empowering vulnerable women and girls, Allende is ultimately joyful: “My theory and practice is to say yes to life and then I’ll see how I manage along the way.”

A pithy, upbeat memoir by a self-described romantic feminist.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35562-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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