A skillful blending of personal experience and public concerns.

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A PATIENT’S STORY OF LIFE-SAVING MEDICINE AND LIFE-GIVING FRIENDSHIP

What begins as a memoir of one man’s encounter with modern medicine expands into contemplation of the state of health care today.

Neugeboren (Transforming Madness, 1999, etc.) was told in 1999 that his coronary arteries were nearly 100 percent blocked and that he must immediately undergo bypass surgery. Fortunately, four of his close friends—Rich, a cardiologist; Phil, a neurologist; Jerry, an AIDS doctor; and Arthur, a psychologist—shepherded him through this crisis, making sure he got the best of care. Reflecting on the experience afterward, he concluded that while his surgical procedure depended on high technology, what made the difference between life and death was decidedly low-tech. His successful outcome, he asserts, was due in large part to the fact that he received the attention of doctors who knew him and listened to him. His opinion was confirmed about a year later when consulting two reputable New York urologists. The first never connected with him as a human being; the second paid attention to his concerns and answered his questions. For Neugeboren, who left the second doctor’s office feeling reassured and relieved even though this physician’s assessment of his condition was more serious, the crucial difference was that the first doctor practiced the impersonal science of medicine, while the second combined science with the art of medicine. That art, he warns, is often missing for many of us in our encounters with modern medicine. The author includes numerous excerpts from his own journals and long quotes from conversations with his four closely involved friends, who discuss not only the author’s particular case but the state of medicine today, how they came to choose their professions, and what they think about their work. In his examination of the healing arts, Neugeboren also draws on the books of numerous other thoughtful writers on medical matters, including Lewis Thomas, Sherwin Nuland, Gerald Grob, and Daniel Callahan.

A skillful blending of personal experience and public concerns.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-11211-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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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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