An occasionally uneven but emotionally engaging story of one woman’s struggle to survive and recover after falling through...

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Accidental Addict

A TRUE STORY OF PAIN AND HEALING....ALSO MARRIAGE, REAL ESTATE, AND COWBOY DANCING

Crew (A Heart for Any Fate, 2015, etc.) shares an agonizing account of prescription drug dependence and withdrawal in this memoir.

The author had knee replacement surgery in 2012, and the oxycodone prescription she received afterward seemed like an effective tool for coping with post-surgery pain. Yet she soon observed that she wasn’t recovering as quickly as she had hoped; she suffered from strange toothaches and struggled to muster enough energy to get through the day. Despite never taking a pill outside of what her doctors prescribed, Crew says, she had become addicted to painkillers. She weaned herself off of oxycodone, as well as antianxiety, antidepressant, and antimigraine medications—all prescribed by well-intentioned doctors but interacting, she says, in ways that proved disastrous for her physical and mental health. Crew struggled for years afterward with post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, in which withdrawal symptoms persist long after drug consumption stops. She says that she endured depression, anxiety, pain, exhaustion, and alienation from her friends and family, but her memoir ends on an optimistic note that points toward survival. Crew insightfully comments on the institutional and interpersonal minefields that sick people must navigate. She observes, for example, that doctors who are too willing to hand out prescriptions contribute to the addiction epidemic, as do doctors who respond to requests for help with suspicion: the first group gets people “hooked,” she says, while the second shames people who are trying to stop. Crew’s interactions with her family can be upsetting, and she clearly shows that the frustration that caused her to lash out was tied to her pain and to society’s difficulty accepting chronic illness. Yet it’s hard to read the note that Crew left for her husband when she went to be alone in their beach house (“Enjoy your vacation from me”) and not feel immense sympathy for the person who found it. This element of the memoir might have been more effective if it were recalled more retrospectively, with more of an attitude of calm analysis instead of in-the-moment pain and rage. But Crew’s battle with her brain and body, as well as the medical system, is still well told and moving.

An occasionally uneven but emotionally engaging story of one woman’s struggle to survive and recover after falling through the cracks of the health care system.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2016

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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