Stunning design combines with an edgy, inspirational life story; let us see more.




Marrus’ debut chronicles her artistic development through allegorical paintings and anecdotes of living life to the fullest.

In her bid “to become the lead character of my own story,” Marrus moved to New York City for a comic book apprenticeship, where she worked in a small animation studio, doing background inking for Valiant and serving as creative director for Gor graphic novels. All along, she struggled with loneliness and insecurity, resenting the “Hammer of Financial Rationality,” aka the fact that artists need day jobs. She spent two years becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, but that was her last brush with the real world. Finally, she boldly decided to wear an “avatar”—an “idealized fantasy” of herself (thus dropping her first name)—and earn a living through art by taking pieces on the road to sell at Renaissance festivals, where she also does body painting. Her memoir cleverly intersperses diary entries, dreams, poems and photographs with humorous yarns, such as trying to toilet-train kittens and tan a deer hide in her tiny apartment. A self-deprecating tone still makes room for sincere words of encouragement: “Happiness comes from living life now, being aware of what you have that brings you joy and peace, and focusing on that.” Most pages also feature a sample of the author’s striking, symbolic artwork, sketches and full-color reproductions, many of chimeras and hybrid creatures, with motifs of eyes, lips, hands, feathers, deer, dogs, cats, carousels or circuses, as well as vaginal and phallic imagery. Her titles for chapters (“Hey, I Needed the Money”) and paintings (“Chainpigs”) are equally intriguing. The most arresting piece, “When the Crotch Rules the Mind in the Quoilyn Garden of Lust, Narrated,” is a Bosch-like nightmare of sex and madness. These more provocative aspects of Marrus’ work—including photographs of her seminude modeling and descriptions of experimentation with drugs and S&M—may alienate some readers. As Marrus admits, “traditional galleries haven’t known what to do with me,” for her works are “visual metaphors for things that are difficult to put into words.”

Stunning design combines with an edgy, inspirational life story; let us see more.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 162

Publisher: Kissena Park Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet