An amusing and genuine account of the challenges a surgeon faces in a new country.

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A RURAL SURGEON

In this third installment of a memoir, an English doctor and his family adjust to life in Canada.

Case, his wife, and their young children immigrated to Alberta in 1970. They quickly got a taste of this new rural setting, as their arrival in Canada was in the midst of winter. The family didn’t have clothing to accommodate the blistering minus-35-degree Fahrenheit temperature (or money to buy more) and generally stayed inside their town house. But Alberta was different from their England home in many other ways, from diverse cultures and languages to the food. Alas, black pudding was no longer a breakfast option. One of the family’s earlier troubles was monetary; Case, who earned a surgical specialist certification in Canada, initially made less than he did in England. But the Cases became financially stable once he opened an independent practice, and they settled into a new home. The vastness of Alberta provided the surgeon with a variety of patients and injuries, largely due to heavy industry and icy roads that caused numerous accidents. And as it turned out, the family’s original plan of “a couple of years” in Canada was extended. In this volume following The Surgeon’s Apprentice (2019), Case couples descriptive prose with welcome humor. Some of his adjustments, for example, included coping with slang (for example, the British phrase knocked up is an early morning call). At the same time, he cites and scrupulously details myriad surgical cases and procedures. In fact, readers who are squeamish watching surgeries on TV may react comparably to the book’s graphic passages. Despite the family’s hardships, the work is upbeat, portraying Canada as a serene, snowy place with good people. Further enhancing Case’s memoir is intermittent poetry that’s earnest and sometimes funny, like a piece warning drivers to watch the road—not “ogle” the snowy owl.

An amusing and genuine account of the challenges a surgeon faces in a new country. (acknowledgements)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5255-6030-9

Page Count: 354

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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

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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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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