A guide that treads familiar ground, but it may be helpful to readers seeking alternatives to restrictive religious...




De la Torre offers a map for living spiritually in his debut self-help book.

The author writes that his crisis of faith regarding Catholicism led him to a period of soul-searching. But finally, by using a logical way of thinking, honed by his math studies at Arizona State University, he says that he figured out how to live in a spiritual way. In the process, he writes, he had to unlearn Catholic dogma, and he devotes several pages to addressing what he terms “myths,” such as “You must be aloof or mystical” and “You can’t be spiritual and sexual.” Next, de la Torre describes the answer he found: one must live “in awareness of the Divine spark within us,” which will lead to being “aware of the Divine spark in all others.” With this foundation laid, he offers a road map, for which he uses the acronym “MAP IT FIRST, DUDE” (“M” for “Mindfulness,” “A” for “Awareness,” and so on). The explanation of this map forms the bulk of the book and offers a multipronged approach to addressing one’s mental, emotional, energetic, and physical states. Finally, de la Torre offers suggestions for taking one’s inner peace out into the world. The different sections of this book follow the stages of a hero’s quest: the crisis or call, the soul-searching, the discovery of answers, and the return and offering of his wisdom, which, in de la Torre’s case, is woven through with on-trend quantum physics principles. This is ground that has been well-covered by other writers, particularly by physicist and consciousness expert Thomas W. Campbell. Although de la Torre’s stated target audience is “busy people,” the pages that he devotes to free oneself from dogmatic religious precepts suggest a narrower audience that struggles against these same ideas. Such readers may find de la Torres’ myth-busting illuminating. Most others, though, will likely find some of the book’s notions quaint—such as that sex is a natural part of being human.

A guide that treads familiar ground, but it may be helpful to readers seeking alternatives to restrictive religious principles.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 137

Publisher: Peace Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 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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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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