A remarkable, empathetic, and intense exploration of the nature of grief and guilt, featuring searing personal insights as...

READ REVIEW

I KNOW IT IN MY HEART

WALKING THROUGH GRIEF WITH A CHILD

A veteran clinical psychologist examines cancer and a child’s grief in this debut memoir.

When her firecracker sister Martha was diagnosed with breast cancer, Plouffe believed she had the tools to deal with whatever happened, including the interminable machinations of the insurance company, the roller coaster of recovery and relapse, and the demands of a large family scattered across three states. Martha and her doctors played the numbers game, but only one number mattered to this mother of a 3-year-old: “I need twenty years to raise Liamarie.” And when a treatment designed to extend Martha’s life inadvertently ended it, Plouffe was forced to inspect not only her own grief, but also that of the newly abandoned child. The author tells not only the story of “how we got through the horror” of Martha’s death in the years that followed, but also “how we got back,” detailing family members’ exhausting emotional journeys as they attempted to heal and move on with their lives while managing Liamarie’s mental health as she grew from toddler to teenager. As a psychologist dealing with trauma on a daily basis, Plouffe found herself reiterating the received wisdom that “grieving is a two-year process” only to discover the advice as lacking in the glut of platitudes that met her in the wake of Martha’s death. She came to realize that “grief is not a broken heart...grief is a fractured soul,” and her striking tale is one of reconciling her career experiences with the agonizing reality of personal loss, told in a manner that wisely avoids sentimentality and embraces the warts-and-all irrationality of mourning. Where a lesser writer might lean into the darling precocity of Liamarie and offer the child as a panacea to the suffering, Plouffe uses an almost clinical examination of the girl’s development as a springboard to reconsidering her own attitude toward the grieving process. What results is a bracing and accessible account of the conflict between emotion and intellect.

A remarkable, empathetic, and intense exploration of the nature of grief and guilt, featuring searing personal insights as well as cleareyed professionalism.

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-200-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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

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

Did you like this book?

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

more