A daughter’s fond memoir of her father and the pioneering civil rights activists in his circle.

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DAUGHTER OF THE BOYCOTT

CARRYING ON A MONTGOMERY FAMILY'S CIVIL RIGHTS LEGACY

A reporter recalls her family’s part in the landmark 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, boycott that desegregated buses and brought fame to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Journalist Houston was born into a remarkable family at the center of an event that changed U.S. history. She was 4 years old when, to protest segregated seating, black passengers stopped riding city buses in Montgomery, galvanized by Parks’ arrest and by a Gandhi-inspired call for nonviolent protest from King, the new pastor of Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The author's father, Thomas Gray, helped organize the 382-day boycott, arranging carpools and taxi rides for the thousands of black residents who normally took buses; before it ended, her uncle, Fred Gray, had become the lead counsel in Browder v. Gayle, the U.S. Supreme Court case that eventually forced Montgomery to desegregate its buses. In her debut memoir, the author warmly recalls her kin and deals matter-of-factly with the appalling Jim Crow–era injustices they faced: Houston was born in a hospital for black patients because “Negroes were either denied admission to white hospitals or accommodated in segregated, subpar units, sometimes in basements or attics.” The author also chronicles her interviews with relevant figures such as the daughter-in-law of the targeted bus line’s manager and a son of Browder plaintiff Aurelia Browder Coleman, who laments that Parks—though not a litigant in that watershed case—has eclipsed his mother and others (“a lie has become history”). Houston’s real coup, however, is a rare at-home interview with Browder plaintiff Claudette Colvin, who refused to give her seat to a white rider months before Parks did and disputes popular accounts of her story: “I wasn’t kicking and scratching like they say I was.” Arriving at a time when racial injustices regularly lead to tragedy, this modest book is a welcome reminder that profound social changes can also result from the quiet heroism of people with unshakable commitment to nonviolence.

A daughter’s fond memoir of her father and the pioneering civil rights activists in his circle. (30 b/w photos)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64160-303-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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

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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