A highly personal narrative that nevertheless showcases the universal value of self-discovery.

Angry Bitch! Who Are You? I Love You.

A MOTHER'S JOURNEY FROM SHAME TO HAPPINESS

A certified integrative coach shares how embracing all aspects of herself led to greater overall well-being in this debut memoir and self-improvement guide.

Mahaini, a Danish native now living with her husband and children in Dubai, was feeling ashamed about being an “angry bitch” while dealing with the demands of being a wife and mother. Such incidents finally led her to undergo training at the Ford Institute, which helped her to fully recognize and thus take responsibility for this pattern of behavior, which had been present throughout her life. She details how she had imposed a lot of pressure on herself while earning a Ph.D. in pharmacology at a university in Australia, for example, and had less-than-satisfactory relationships with men that “came partly from my biological father’s not having much contact with me when I was a child, which in a child’s interpretation meant that I was unworthy.” Mahaini notes that she is better at handling her life now, including making sure that she allots time for such activities as coaching work and writing this book. She believes this greater sense of happiness is due to her having “learned to absolutely love and adore my angry part, for showing me the way.” She now can also heal herself “so the anger doesn’t burst forth so frequently. I can listen to my needs much more carefully, so it doesn’t have to erupt to get my attention.” The author offers an engaging exploration of the “inner work,” as she terms it, required to transform one’s life. Many readers, particularly mothers, should connect to her challenges of being a caretaker of young children, particularly the difficulty yet also necessity of carving out personal time that will actually help alleviate these stresses. At times, however, Mahaini’s musings, such as her angst while at a “very nice beachside hotel in Oman,” come off like “first-world problems” rather than relatable crises. And more details on the tools of integrative coaching, which clearly benefited her, would have been welcome.

A highly personal narrative that nevertheless showcases the universal value of self-discovery.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4525-1821-3

Page Count: 172

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 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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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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