Sometimes rueful, sometimes defiant, always affecting. Even McCain’s political opponents should admire the fiery grace with...

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THE RESTLESS WAVE

GOOD TIMES, JUST CAUSES, GREAT FIGHTS, AND OTHER APPRECIATIONS

A valediction by the noted senator and presidential candidate.

Teaming up with constant collaborator and staff member Salter, McCain (Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War, 2014, etc.) looks back on a long career of service to the country. In a narrative bracketed by intimations of mortality—and by one friend in particular, a classmate who “was laid to rest in the Naval Academy’s cemetery on Hospital Point, a beautiful spot overlooking the Severn River”—McCain opens with a gentle dissection of his failed bid for the presidency, which he admits was a great disappointment but an honor all the same. The breaking news from that account is his retrospective wish that he’d gone with his gut and chosen Joe Lieberman as his running mate, sending “an emphatic statement that I intended to govern collaboratively with an emphasis on problem solving not politics, which in 2008 would have been very good politics.” Yet his advisers convinced him to go with the untested Sarah Palin, particularly as a way to send the message that he, not Barack Obama, was the real agent of change. McCain accepts responsibility for the resulting fiasco: “There’s no use bitching about how you were treated in a presidential campaign,” he writes, adding that he got to keep his day job in the Senate, where his friends have numbered Democrats such as Ted Kennedy—who, McCain notes, died of the same brain cancer that he is now battling—and moderate Republicans like Lindsey Graham. He has less use for the likes of Rand Paul, who stayed in the 2008 race longer than he should have in order to make “a point of some kind to his passionate followers,” and Donald Trump. On that note, he writes provocatively of his part in revealing the Steele dossier of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia: “Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell.”

Sometimes rueful, sometimes defiant, always affecting. Even McCain’s political opponents should admire the fiery grace with which he’s exiting the world.

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7800-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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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

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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