by Katy McVeigh ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 11, 2019
A vivid but meandering guide that tackles several serious subjects.
In this debut self-help book, a writer offers personal anecdotes about self-discovery.
“Some refer to me as a teacher, others call me a shaman, Reiki Master, psychic, seer, empath, energy worker, or healer,” writes McVeigh. But she sees herself as “just Katy,” a woman who has overcome horrendous adversity by changing the way she looks at life. When she was 11 years old, she was raped. But by forgiving her rapist (without excusing his horrendous deed), she managed to free herself from years of mental torture. In this short, easy-to-read guide, the author cobbles together several anecdotes from her life that taught her lessons—for example, after uncovering a suppressed memory, she realized why her mother was emotionally distant. Skimming several weighty topics—such as dream analysis, death, reincarnation, hypnosis, astral projection, and past life regression—the manual cites few sources. McVeigh’s proof relies mostly on her own opinions and life experiences, giving the book a journallike tone. For example, her beginning chapter on dream analysis is inspired by a class she took in college. During hypnosis, she discovered she had committed suicide in a previous life, and this revelation helped her in her present existence. Some of her anecdotes feel like scenes from The X-Files. McVeigh claims to have had an out-of-body experience in which she reached inside her sister’s back and pulled out handfuls of disease or “thick black-tarry-guck.” That’s not the only time the author relates extraordinary events. During a seminar, a beautiful woman wiped “Indian tears” from the author’s face. McVeigh found out that she was a young Native American seer in a past life. Readers who are into subjects like psychic healing or cosmic consciousness will discover a kindred spirit here, especially if they enjoy fanciful life stories. But nonbelievers won’t find the work convincing.A vivid but meandering guide that tackles several serious subjects.
Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2019
Page Count: 108
Review Posted Online: April 23, 2020
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Matthew McConaughey ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 2020
A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020
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by Anne Heche ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 24, 2023
A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.
The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.
Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.
Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023
Page Count: 176
Publisher: Viva Editions
Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023
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