An insightful treat for Andrews' fans.

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HOME WORK

A MEMOIR OF MY HOLLYWOOD YEARS

A warm, entertaining memoir covering the actor’s Hollywood years, from Mary Poppins to That's Life!

In this follow-up to Home: A Memoir of My Early Years (2008), the author devotes equal time to home and work in the period from 1963 to 1986. Her home life was anything but serene. During this period, her marriage to production and costume designer Tony Walton broke up—mostly, writes Andrews, because they were never in the same place at the same time. Their daughter, Emma, co-author of this book, split her time between her parents, and Andrews remarried, this time to director Blake Edwards. His children didn't assimilate easily into the new blended family, and he had a number of problems of his own, including hypochondria, an addiction to prescription pills, a hot temper, and a tendency to be drawn toward “lonely, fragile and usually very pretty young women.” The couple went on to adopt two children from Vietnam while Andrews attempted to deal with an alcoholic mother and stepfather. Meanwhile, she was making movies both successful—notably The Sound of Music—and less so, such as her husband's remake of The Man Who Loved Women. While Andrews is too discreet and canny to settle any scores or burn any bridges with her Hollywood colleagues, and she remains guardedly respectful toward most of her co-workers, she knows how to spin a yarn. Even her experience with the notoriously difficult Alfred Hitchcock comes off as remarkably pleasant, as she describes him explaining which camera lenses would make her look best. Andrews does let loose in her memories of a horrific day during the filming of Hawaii, during which director George Roy Hill seemed to be “getting a slight kick” out of repeated takes of her skirt being set on fire. Entries from the author’s journals add a sense of immediacy, and she ends her account on an up note: “I am profoundly blessed.” That may be true, but it’s also hard not to admire the grit that took her through some taxing personal and professional struggles.

An insightful treat for Andrews' fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-34925-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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