Warmhearted testimony to enduring relationships.

WHAT MAKES A MARRIAGE LAST

40 CELEBRATED COUPLES SHARE WITH US THE SECRETS TO A HAPPY LIFE

Famous couples reflect candidly about married life.

Hoping to be both informative and inspiring, Thomas and Donahue, happily married since 1980, interviewed 40 couples (including a few same-sex pairs), most married more than 20 years, to find out “if there really is a secret sauce to a successful marriage.” The authors’ disarming ebullience makes them endearing interviewers, with questions including how the partners first met, how they knew they were in love, what they learned from their parents’ marriages, how they resolve fights, and how they have dealt with blended families, survived traumatic problems, and maintain their individual growth and change. “What advice,” they ask, “might they give to younger couples starting out—or the already married—that they wish they had known themselves when they first took their vows?” Not surprisingly, competitiveness emerges as a frequent question for celebrity couples. “I’ll tell you one thing we’re never jealous of is each other’s career,” Kevin Bacon remarked about his marriage to Kyra Sedgwick. Sedgwick stopped working to raise their family, taking a role in The Closer when their children were teenagers. By then, having lost their savings in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, they needed her income. Although couples like Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan hoped to emulate their parents’ wonderful marriages, many couples vowed not to repeat their parents’ animosity or the troubles they experienced in their own first marriages. Some partners—Thomas and Donahue, James Carville and Mary Matalin, among others—accommodate vastly different personality traits. Carville and Matalin decided to be interviewed separately, in fact, the better to answer questions honestly. Much marital advice underscores what Judy Woodruff calls “the eternal values, like honesty, integrity, and respect. And, yes, love.” As Rob Reiner’s mother once remarked, the key to a long marriage is to “find someone who can stand you.” Other contributors include Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, and Joanna and Chip Gaines.

Warmhearted testimony to enduring relationships.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298258-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: March 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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

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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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A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

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WILL

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars delivers a memoir of success won through endless, relentless work and self-reckoning.

“My imagination is my gift, and when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens.” So writes Smith, whose imagination is indeed a thing of wonder—a means of coping with fear, an abusive father with the heart of a drill instructor, and all manner of inner yearnings. The author’s imagination took him from a job bagging ice in Philadelphia to initial success as a partner in the Grammy-winning rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Smith was propelled into stardom thanks to the ministrations of Quincy Jones, who arranged an audition in the middle of his own birthday party, bellowing “No paralysis through analysis!” when Smith begged for time to prepare. The mantra—which Jones intoned 50-odd times during the two hours it took for the Hollywood suits to draw up a contract for the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is telling, for hidden within this memoir lies a powerful self-help book. For Smith, all of life is a challenge in which one’s feelings are largely immaterial. “I watched my father’s negative emotions seize control of his ample intellect and cause him over and over again to destroy beautiful parts of our family,” he writes, good reason for him to sublimate negativity in the drive to get what he wanted—money, at first, and lots of it, which got him in trouble with the IRS in the early 1990s. Smith, having developed a self-image that cast him as a coward, opines that one’s best life is lived by facing up to the things that hold us back. “I’ve been making a conscious effort to attack all the things that I’m scared of,” he writes, adding, “And this is scary.” It’s a good lesson for any aspiring creative to ponder—though it helps to have Smith’s abundant talent, too.

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984877-92-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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