A readable pop-history account of medical research that turned out spectacularly.




A breathless history of a miraculous treatment.

Journalist Guthrie begins by explaining that the “Rh factor” is a protein related to blood type. About 85% of humans have Rh protein in their red blood cells; 15% don’t, making them Rh negative. If an Rh negative woman becomes pregnant by an Rh positive father, her fetus might be Rh positive. If so, the woman’s immune system, which has never encountered Rh, treats it as a foreign invader and generates antibodies. This takes time, so the first child is not affected, but the mother becomes “sensitized”—her immune system attacks future Rh positive fetuses, killing them or producing devastating anemia in the newborn. Doctors prevent it with a simple injection, called RhoGAM, approved in 1968. Guthrie tells this genuinely uplifting story through biographies of two Australians. John Gorman came to the U.S. in 1955, trained as a pathologist, and began investigating Rh disease, which, at the time, killed 10,000 American babies every year. Reading studies, he learned that when a particular antibody is present in blood, it inhibits the immune system from attacking its target foreign protein. He wondered if simply giving Rh antibody to a woman would prevent her sensitization. He was right, and Guthrie delivers an expert account of the eight years of often frustrating research that proved it. The author’s second hero is James Harrison, a bookkeeper who donated blood throughout his life, a total of 1,173 times. During lifesaving surgery as a teenager, he received many transfusions of Rh negative blood. Being positive himself, he developed titanic levels of Rh antibody, far more than the usual donor (RhoGAM is only obtained through donated blood). His blood has saved 2.4 million babies in Australia. Guthrie narrates her account like a novel, as her characters chat, think, brood, agonize, and ultimately triumph just as in a Hollywood movie.

A readable pop-history account of medical research that turned out spectacularly.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4331-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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


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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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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