An often beautiful survey of tragedy and rebuilding.

ON THE WAY TO CASA LOTUS

A MEMOIR OF FAMILY, ART, INJURY, AND FORGIVENESS

In this debut memoir, an art collector tells of undergoing surgery in her early 30s and how it upended her life and destroyed her health.

In this moving story of hope, empowerment, and forgiveness, Margain grapples with a life-altering mistake and chronicles her emotional journey to Casa Lotus—a home in Texas Hill Country that, as the book opens, she and her husband, Eduardo, have planned but not yet built. The Mexican-born Margain notes that “family is everything in Mexican culture,” and she describes how she moved with her own family from Monterrey to Mexico City at the age of 12 and, later, to Austin, Texas, carrying her culture with her. Endearing scenes of later meeting her husband in New York City, and their years of marriage and building the Margain-Junco Collection of art together, pepper the narrative. One day, several months after her son was born in 2012, the 30-something author visited her doctor and told him that she sensed that something was wrong with her, although she lacked “any real symptoms.” At the time, Margain was raising three young children, including a newborn, and dealing with the loss of her grandmotherand her sister’s cancer diagnosis. Her doctor told her that she might have depression, but she felt that something else was going on. She visited multiple physicians, and a CT scan later revealed a tumor on her adrenal gland, which a surgeon removed. However, something went wrong during the procedure, the author says, which profoundly altered her life. Margain’s remembrance superbly details how people can find freedom and healing in forgiveness, and her story will resonate with readers who are seeking hope, a sense of spirituality, and faith that things happen for a reason. With that goal in mind, the memoir cites Buddhist teachings from spiritual teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, biblical passages (“The truth shall set you free”), thoughts from Hindu gurus, and secular conceptions of integrity and morality. She also offers insights on how anger—particularly female anger, which, she asserts, is often repressed—can also be a potent productive force.

An often beautiful survey of tragedy and rebuilding.

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7363905-0-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Cuco Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2021

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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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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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