Psychology buffs will make of this what they will. Either way, it’s an absorbing story and ought to make a chilling movie.




A collaborative record of illness and recovery by an Englishwoman who suffered from severe depression and the psychotherapist who helped her get to the root of her distress.

Caine, to outward appearances a happily married, financially secure wife and mother, first met Jungian psychotherapist Royston in early 1989, when she was referred to him after an alarming suicidal episode. Royston soon placed her in Ticehurst, a mental hospital near her home in Canterbury, to protect her from self-harm and to enable them to have longer sessions together. Both evidently took extensive notes during the years of her treatment, for their account is rather like a joint diary, with alternating passages by each. As a Jungian, Royston looks for clues in Caine’s dreams and interprets them for her as she reveals them over the next couple of years. Caine leaves Ticehurst at various times, sometimes just for a weekend, sometimes for months, but her sessions with Royston do not end until late 1991. Puzzling, fragmentary memories come back to her, and the story of her life gradually unfolds. She was abandoned by her mother at an early age, subsequently raised by her father, suffered an unnecessary mastectomy at age 14, married an abusive man at 17, was widowed at 20, and raped in a particularly horrifying manner shortly afterward. Royston comes to suspect that Caine has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse, and in his mind her father is the prime suspect. When the identity of the dark, menacing stranger in her dreams and flashbacks eventually becomes clear, the doctor hopes that talking about them will release Caine from her misery. In the end, however, it is a group prayer session that rescues and transforms her. Whether her recovered memories are true cannot be known, but Caine clearly believes they are. The same may be said for Royston’s dream interpretations.

Psychology buffs will make of this what they will. Either way, it’s an absorbing story and ought to make a chilling movie.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2004

ISBN: 0-593-04734-6

Page Count: 445

Publisher: Transworld UK/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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


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?

No Comments Yet

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?