A breezy, impressively detailed glimpse into a beautiful young woman’s self-discovery via the world of international fashion.

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THE CURRENCY OF LOVE

A COURAGEOUS JOURNEY TO FINDING THE LOVE WITHIN

A successful clothing designer reflects on her damaged upbringing and early years as a Paris-based fashion model.

Using letters, journals, and “thousands of photos,” Dodd reinvigorates her life as a struggling 1980s-era model. Though critical and cursory, an invaluable evaluation by Wilhelmina Models in 1979 opened a portal into the French modeling world, resulting in dispiriting culture shock and a hefty dose of disillusionment. Barely 20 years old at the time, the author writes of being whisked off to Paris, where an aloof agency booker dispatched her to endless dead-end “Go-Sees.” Dodd eventually warmed up to the whirlwind of Parisian life and began booking photo shoots, magazine covers, and a dangerous series of social engagements with upscale businessmen, where her role was sketchy at best and she was sexually assaulted along with another model. Interspersed with the author’s tales of her modeling career are details about her complicated, abusive Los Angeles upbringing at the hands of a sexually inappropriate father whom she both feared and worshipped and an “emotionally checked out” mother. As she climbed the international fashion industry’s “slippery steep model ladder,” Dodd’s memories move briskly across fashion runways and photography shoots in Paris, London, Greece, and Spain. She fell into a troublesome and treacherous relationship with Adnan Khashoggi, a billionaire Middle Eastern arms dealer who promised Dodd the world but instead introduced her to cocaine and simply made her one in a harem of women at his disposal. Dodd writes earnestly and refreshingly about learning many of life’s more difficult lessons the hard way, and while her recollections are narrowly focused to just a few years during the 1980s, readers still receive a generous sense of who she was back then and how her later degree in fashion merchandising provided the perfect transition from model to successful clothing designer.

A breezy, impressively detailed glimpse into a beautiful young woman’s self-discovery via the world of international fashion.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5037-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Enliven/Atria

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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