Warmhearted testimony to enduring relationships.



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.


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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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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