Blackwell’s inspiring call to action will help women get out of their own way on the path to fulfillment.

ARE YOU A MULE OR A QUEEN?

HOW TO HAVE OTHERS HONOR YOUR WISHES AND VALUE YOUR TIME

In her first book, a former executive coach and certified change agent attempts to provide readers the tools they need to eliminate the situations that weigh them down.

Blackwell divides women into two categories: Mules, who tend to be the overburdened dumping ground for everyone else’s problems, and Queens, who maintain healthy relationships and are rewarded with friends and family who treat them like royalty. She targets typical areas in which this kind of divide occurs—family, relationships, work, society—but delves into more thought-provoking and less-mined territory as well, examining Victorian ideals, routine behavior and appearances. In each area, Blackwell defines the behavior of the Mule as opposed to the behavior of a Queen, using examples of real women from each category. The concrete examples help shed light on negative aspects of behavior while providing models to emulate. Moreover, Blackwell chooses examples from a wide spectrum: young singletons, happily married women, divorcees, mothers, career women, homemakers, middle-aged women, women in their later years and more. Nearly every reader will find a woman in this book to whom she can relate. Though Blackwell recognizes that most women—regardless of personal schedule and responsibilities—shoulder a caretaking role for those around them, she stresses that women need to take care of themselves first. Doing so will allow them to live richer, more satisfying lives, which can only benefit their spouses, children, co-workers, friends and extended family. It’s not enough to go to work, attend church and go home, she says; women should seek activities, events and people who can fulfill their emotional needs. Blackwell gives women permission to unapologetically stand up and demand the respect and courtesy they rightfully deserve. It’s a valuable lesson for women who want to have it all—family, career, success—even if they are still expected to do it all.

Blackwell’s inspiring call to action will help women get out of their own way on the path to fulfillment.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1936183487

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Langdon Street

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

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

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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