A heartfelt, timely plea to remember past atrocities.

READ REVIEW

OPERATION YELLOW STAR / BLACK THURSDAY

An unsparing indictment of Paris police during the Nazi occupation.

On July 16, 1942, 14-year-old Rajsfus was among thousands of Jews rounded up in Paris in compliance with German orders. Most were interned and deported, never to return, but he was fortunate enough to be released. In honor of his entire family, who were killed by Nazis, the author emotionally recalls that Black Thursday, which forms half of this book; he precedes it with Operation Yellow Star, based on newspaper reports and official papers, documenting the eagerness of French policemen “to take part in all repressive operations.” Loyal to the Vichy government, Rajsfus asserts, “the police got behind the racist ideology and imposed the laws that were those of a totalitarian state.” One of the major laws mandated that all Jews wear a yellow star, making them easily identifiable and subject to accusation, detention, and arrest. Sympathizers who took up the star themselves, as an expression of solidarity, were arrested, too. A few prominent cultural figures and wives of government loyalists were given exemptions, Rajsfus discovered, but when the writer Colette asked for an exemption for her Jewish husband, she was denied. The author’s memory of July 16 is harrowing: the family was awakened before 5 a.m. and told to pack in five minutes. Although arrests throughout Paris had been occurring for more than a year, still the family was surprised. Flanked by police, they were taken to a squalid house that served as a makeshift prison. Suddenly, an officer announced that all children 14 or older would be released if their parents agreed, and Rajsfus and his older sister found themselves alone on the street. They returned to their apartment, where, months later, they received a note from their father: “We are leaving for Germany.” Besides commemorating his family’s murder, Rajsfus raises awareness about how “the enemies of human rights are once more gaining ground,” spouting xenophobia that is easily transferable to any minority group.

A heartfelt, timely plea to remember past atrocities.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9978184-0-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: DoppelHouse Press

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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