An intimate, healing conversation from beyond.

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Meeting in the Space Between

Findlen, a former social worker and now holistic life guide and “polarity therapist,” pens her first book, a spiritual journal on the relationship she developed with her deceased daughter.

When her daughter, Kori Sue, died in a Jeep accident, the author, seeking solace and torn with grief, began writing letters to Kori in her journal, exploring her pain, her rage, her anguish. Then, suddenly, Kori began to respond in letters of her own. Long the stock of mediums, Romantic poets, and mystics, automatic writing allows a writer like Findlen to overcome the seemingly unconquerable rift between the living and the dead and to explore and to heal through this writing process. Findlen’s book, the result of such an exploration, attempts to share with the living the wisdom and insight of the dead. “You should hear the Ommms here, Mom. They vibrate through everything,” Kori, the “co-author,” writes with her typical enthusiasm in describing this rather alternative afterlife in which Jesus and Buddha are buddies and the thoughts of the dead can instantly manifest. The informality of these letters and New Age after-death visions sometimes comes in a jarring contrast to the sententious wisdom Kori offers her mother. Kori takes flying lessons, then meets for playtime with some spirit children and studies with Druids. She continually counsels her mother to overcome her grief, not to lose faith, to meditate and gain spiritual balance. Eventually, after constant prodding from her daughter, Findlen begins to gain strength and start the long journey to overcome her grief and despair. Findlen and her daughter share the same casual New Age–inflected writing style, both often ending their exhortatory sentences with the exclamation “Ha!” Daughter advises her mom to anticipate the “Big Shift,” when everyone on Earth will magically undergo a mind change, but really the focus in this book is on Findlen’s transformation and her desire to turn her exploration into a book, an ambition fostered and encouraged by her daughter and her afterlife “team” of spirit supporters. Though sometimes repetitive, it’s an often engaging account of a spirit dialogue likely to appeal to spiritually inclined readers.

An intimate, healing conversation from beyond. 

Pub Date: June 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-3038-1

Page Count: 408

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2015

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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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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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