A funny and occasionally insightful memoir of an Iranian-American comedian finding a voice in showbiz.

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I'M NOT A TERRORIST, BUT I'VE PLAYED ONE ON TV

MEMOIRS OF A MIDDLE EASTERN FUNNY MAN

The struggles and successes of "the Persian Eddie Murphy.”

Iranian-American comedian, actor and first-time author Jobrani tells a fish-out-of-water story, all the while maintaining a self-deprecating tone—e.g., regarding immigrant parents: “I don’t think immigrant parents really understand the ratings system. They think that PG…means that a movie will give ‘parental guidance’ to your kid while you go shopping for gold jewelry, chandeliers, and marble counters at the mall." The author also recounts his desire to blend in and be seen as just another rich kid in Northern California, albeit one whose "loud and brown" father picked him up from soccer practice in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. Cultural typecasting followed Jobrani throughout his fledgling Hollywood career, perhaps most shockingly when he caught his big break at the renowned Comedy Store in Los Angeles in 1999 and was asked to dress in “Middle Eastern garb,” like “the Persian equivalent of blackface.” The author hits his stride with his chronicle of the period after 9/11, when he went on the offensive with his comedy, sharing his political views and observations in his stand-up act and on cable TV specials. Jobrani embraced the role of comedy in healing after 9/11 and, later, with two other comics on the international Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. This mission and his tales from the road comprise the bulk of the book. Jobrani believes it is his duty to bring these issues to light in a humorous, accessible way—e.g., when he quips that he is not involved in jihad, explaining he "lost interest altogether once [jihadis] started putting bombs in their underwear.” He also offers this practical advice: “Don't Wear A Backpack At Home Depot.”

A funny and occasionally insightful memoir of an Iranian-American comedian finding a voice in showbiz.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-1476749983

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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