An adoring homage.

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YVES SAINT LAURENT

THE BIOGRAPHY

An updated and translated biography of the famed designer.

Journalist and fashion writer Benaïm (René Lacoste, 2018, etc.) offers a meticulously detailed, overly worshipful biography of Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008), conveyed in prose as sumptuous as the designer’s acclaimed couture. Born in Oran in Algeria, where he was a shy, bullied child, Saint Laurent felt shame and fear about his sexuality. “Being gay in Oran was like being a murderer,” he told the author. Later, internationally famous, he saw “celebrity as a revenge on the petty humiliations of his childhood.” Recognition came early: In 1954, he became the youngest winner of a coveted international prize; the following year, Dior hired him as a design assistant; in 1957, when Dior died suddenly, the young Saint Laurent was named as his successor. Triumph followed as he mounted shows for Dior and, when he was 25, for his own company. Benaïm describes each collection in detail, including reviews—usually gushing, occasionally dismissive—and the roster of his wealthy, trendsetting clientele. “Yves Saint Laurent offered liberated women additional sophistication,” writes the author, “and he gave the others the certainty that they were modern.” He extolled svelte, androgynous models; while other couture models were slim, or even skinny, his, one commentator noted, “skirt the edge of death from malnutrition.” Besides documenting his fashion innovations, Benaïm attends to his expanding business, which came to include hundreds of shops; and his cosmetics, jewelry, and perfume enterprises, which gave the world the coveted Opium, a scent that brought in more than $3 million in its first four months. The author examines his relationship with his lover, the mercurial, stubborn, and powerful Pierre Bergé, who whipped the YSL brand into a hugely profitable empire. She also chronicles Saint Laurent’s physical and psychological descent compounded by alcohol and assorted drugs. A detailed timeline distills the events of his life, and the author even includes a playlist of music that accompanied his shows.

An adoring homage.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8478-6339-6

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Rizzoli Ex Libris

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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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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