Mostly stimulating stories of women's achievements sure to generate new ideas; best read in doses.

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IT AIN'T OVER...TILL IT'S OVER

REINVENTING YOUR LIFE—AND REALIZING YOUR DREAMS--ANYTIME, AT ANY AGE

Success stories from women who have taken their lives in new directions.

Personal losses, empty nests, the deaths of loved ones, general dissatisfaction with the status quo—these are just a few of the reasons why the women featured by actor Thomas (Growing Up Laughing: My Story, 2011, etc.) chose to change their lives in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Many had successful careers that brought them a satisfying income but left them wondering, “what if this is all that there is to my life?” These women still had unfulfilled dreams and yearnings, but instead of choosing complacency, they pursued the emotionally and physically demanding route of something new, often succeeding beyond what they could have ever imagined. Most had no special knowledge of the new venture on which they were embarking, although work in corporate jobs did help with planning and networking. What they all shared was determination and a deep longing to explore ideas that they had always pushed to the back burner: A corporate job was exchanged for the ski slopes, a desire for healthy food for a child became a million-dollar business, and a knitting hobby became a gourmet yarn and coffee shop. Many ideas were born from the need for an item—e.g., a cellphone carryall, a day planner and a sippy-cup tether—or a desire to do something radically different, like wakeboarding, working as an actress or being a DJ. Other women wished to help others in need and had a strong desire to give back to the community at large. Straightforward and inspirational, the stories show the pluck and drive found in every woman and give older women the courage to believe in their dreams despite the odds.

Mostly stimulating stories of women's achievements sure to generate new ideas; best read in doses.

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3991-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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