A vivid, moving account of addiction, trauma, and hard-won triumph by two survivors.

The Painting and The Piano

AN IMPROBABLE STORY OF SURVIVAL AND LOVE

Two adults overcome damaging childhoods and addictions to find each other and rebuild their lives together in this affecting debut memoir.

Though the two authors didn’t meet until they were adults in recovery and come from very different backgrounds, their struggles with alcoholism brought them together. While Lugo says she was actually born addicted to heroin, she spent most of her early childhood raised by loving foster parents, the Cahns, on Long Island. But when her biological parents returned to reclaim custody, the Cahns were ultimately forced to give her up despite her wishes and a lengthy court battle. Her time with her biological parents was marked by physical and verbal abuse that left scars that lingered through adulthood. Lipscomb, by contrast, was raised in an upscale Missouri suburb by a very prominent family. Yet his beautiful socialite mother was a raging alcoholic whose behavior caused the breakup of her marriage. Lipscomb began drinking himself as a teenager, and his alcoholism started to consume him, destroying his first marriage and causing him to lose custody of his children. Eventually he sought treatment from Alcoholics Anonymous, where he met Lugo, who was in an unhappy marriage and addicted to both alcohol and pills. As they became closer, romantically and emotionally, they began to heal; the title refers to two happy memories of their respective childhoods that they embraced, with a renewed sense of peace. The memoir is written in an accessible narrative style, with each chapter alternating between the two authors. Toward the end, when the narrative begins to give way to platitudes like “We believe that if we can find our way to the light, then anyone can,” the story starts to feel a little repetitive. Yet those words do feel genuine because of the despair and joy detailed in the previous pages. This memoir should serve as, in the authors’ words, “a roadmap of sorts” for others.

 A vivid, moving account of addiction, trauma, and hard-won triumph by two survivors.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: ALJ Marketing LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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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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