An engaging, no-frills account of the challenges and rewards of being a female Mountie.

WOMAN IN SCARLET

THE GROUNDBREAKING TRUE STORY OF LIFE AS A WOMAN IN AN ELITE, MALE-ONLY POLICE FORCE

A writer recalls her time as one of the first women in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in this debut memoir.

“On May 23, 1974, my whole life changed,” confides Adams in the opening chapter of her book. This was the date when the RCMP announced that it would begin “accepting female recruits.” The author was a 22-year-old single woman from the Manitoba prairies, and the news made her spring out of bed “like it was Christmas morning.” The memoir describes the recruitment process—some of the tests were “gender-biased” toward men, and Adams almost failed the eye exam. She goes on to recall her training, ranging from driving to self-defense, before graduating and receiving her first posting in Thompson, Manitoba. The author explains the challenges facing a female Mountie, from being “scrutinized at every turn” to being sexually assaulted by a higher ranking male officer. Adams describes day-to-day duties, including going undercover to investigate drug dealers and dealing with drunks. She also explores the difficulties of being a single mother while serving with the RCMP and how being sexually assaulted resulted in her silently suffering from PTSD, which later affected her daughters. Adams’ memoir is a no-nonsense confessional: “My life in the RCMP was a constant fight for survival. That meant taking my negative and/or positive emotions and filing them away, never dealing with them.” Her recollections of being sexually abused are gut-wrenching but she addresses her resultant PTSD with courage and determination: “I refuse to let it identify who I am or to diminish my past accomplishments.” A trailblazer for women in the RCMP, the author remains modest throughout the book and is unafraid to throw in some wry wit: “I noticed that the person described had blue eyes. But the person standing in front of me had dark brown eyes. In the police universe, this is what you would call a clue.” While Adams’ childhood is covered in an addendum—it reveals why serving with the RCMP became her dream—this information would have been more useful at the beginning of the book. Still, with its endearingly straight-talking approach, the author’s enlightening story should prove inspirational and informative for women eager to follow in her footsteps.

An engaging, no-frills account of the challenges and rewards of being a female Mountie.

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-9994043-0-7

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Adams Enterprise

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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