Inspiring as the affirmations can be, the book is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

READ REVIEW

GMORNING, GNIGHT!

LITTLE PEP TALKS FOR ME & YOU

A collection of affirmations selected from the author’s daily tweets.

Twitter discourse is not distinguished by its positivity. But amid the rants, complaints, and depressing news, Miranda, the creator of the megahit musical Hamilton, offers daily inspirational greetings to start and end the day. These tidbits offer occasions for reflection and gratitude, and at their best, they spur confidence, resilience, and even happiness. Unfortunately, the magic doesn’t carry over from social to printed media. Even when the advice is good—e.g., “Gnight! / Your mind is yours alone. / Do what it takes to make yourself comfy. / Draw the blinds, kick out unwelcome guests. / Make it your home” or “Do NOT get stuck in the comments section of life / today. / Make, do, create the things. / Let others tussle it out”—reading more than a couple at a time is like going to the store and reading all the birthday cards. Eventually, they begin to sound sentimental or pat. Miranda describes his method for composing these tweets in his introduction: “I’m writing what I wish somebody would say, / Then switching the pronoun to you.” Readers will do well to invert this formula and switch the pronouns back to I as they read. This strategy allows an escape from awkward questions about why the author is saying these things to you. Although even reading “[I] did good today” forces the question, did I? Better is the playful specificity of something like “get some food in you, maybe a banana.” This brief collection is best when the author deviates from straight inspiration and surprises readers. Sun’s (everyone’s an aliebn when ur a aliebn too, 2017) line drawings, which enhance the book’s lighthearted side, are a notable addition to the print version of Miranda’s affirmations; they are a fun and refreshing presence throughout.

Inspiring as the affirmations can be, the book is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984854-27-8

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more