Practical if often shopworn advice on how to move beyond unfulfilling relationships.

BIG WILD LOVE

In her self-help debut, Murray encourages women to let go of unsatisfying relationships by following a 6-step plan that builds on a popular TEDx talk she gave on the topic.

Murray had an “epiphany” after her boyfriend, Hector, stood her up for an appointment to go house-hunting with a real estate agent: Even though they’d been together for 12 years, he was never going to commit. That realization helped prompt her to ditch that romance and set her sights on what she calls “Big Wild Love,” or “a deliberate, intentional pursuit of taking care of oneself that allows a woman to see herself perhaps for the very first time.” In this book-length pep talk, she urges others who feel stuck—whether in bad marriages or unrewarding relationships of another sort—to cultivate self-love and to go for what they most want in life. Using real-life examples culled from women who reached out to her after her TEDx talk, “The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go,” Murray describes a 6-step process that she believes can bring people through the “tunnel of pain” and into the light of their own “Big Wild Love.” Some of her advice will be overfamiliar to frequent consumers of self-help books—endorsing “self-care and self-love” are clichés of the genre—and the writing can be hokey: “Beyond those raw and inflamed nerve endings comes a wondrous regrowth—of resilience and fortitude and veracity.” But along with bromides like “be realistic” and “acknowledge your mistakes,” Murray offers more practical steps toward turning things around, such as planning “a two-day relationship detox” that follows the hour-by-hour schedule she suggests. She also offers writing prompts on topics like, “Do I fear that I won’t be OK if I take a risk?” As for whether her advice works: For some readers, Murray’s experience will speak for itself. After leaving the dithering Hector, she met a better man for her on Match.com. After four dates, they moved in together, and after 14 months, they got married.

Practical if often shopworn advice on how to move beyond unfulfilling relationships.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-852-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 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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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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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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