An expansive account of a culture-spanning life.

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A LIFE TO REMEMBER

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Joshi recounts his experiences on three continents in this debut autobiography.

Born in Jamkhandi, India, in 1924 in his grandfather’s mud-walled and thatched-roof house, Joshi grew up in a world strikingly different from the one readers know. The author illustrates the peculiarities of life in that era, from the quaint means of transportation to the colorful characters to the tragically high rates of disease and mortality. His father, a primary schoolteacher, worked to ensure that Joshi would receive a quality education. Winning a “poor boys fund” scholarship, he was able to study science at Karnatak College. During this time, he participated in Gandhi’s “Quit India” independence movement. His postgraduate education included a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cambridge and a research fellowship at the University of Chicago. Applying his knowledge of organic chemistry to pharmaceuticals, the author was able to help improve the standard of living for Indians and others around the world. Joshi takes the reader through a lifetime of travel and research, chronicling the joys and pains that come with love, family, and reaching one’s 90s. Joshi has learned how much changes over the course of nine decades and how much remains the same. His prose is deliberative and highly detailed, displaying an impressive memory for the events of yesteryear. The most engrossing sections of the book are those related to his childhood, which occurred in an India that feels very remote from the modern America of Joshi’s present, as when he discusses his family’s Chitpavan Brahmin caste: “Some of my friends in school...used to tease me” that the Chitpavans “are calculating and miserly. The Chitpavans are said to come from the Middle East and landed on the west coast in a shipwreck.” As with many autobiographies, the work is episodic, with no strong narrative emerging. Some passages drag, and the relevance of each minor character or event isn’t always clear. Even so, the great scope of Joshi’s life should intrigue those interested in life in pre-independence India and in the experiences of the Indian diaspora in the West.

An expansive account of a culture-spanning life.

Pub Date: April 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5035-4926-5

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 27, 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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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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