Bettencourt takes a broad view of opportunities small and large for forgiveness, and in doing so, she provides hope for a...

READ REVIEW

TRIUMPH OF THE HEART

FORGIVENESS IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD

One writer’s journey through learning about the many forms forgiveness can take.

We’re living in a time of rage, anger, censure, and punishment online, where any misstep is treated grievously with heaping helpings of shaming. The Internet often serves as an outlet for anger, a way to redress perceived wrongdoings, but it also, over time, leaves more anger than it vents. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is less likely to be found trending on Twitter; it takes work, or at least that’s what journalist Bettencourt thought. An especially humiliating and public dissolution of a relationship left her feeling justified in embracing nonforgiveness wholeheartedly, but she began to wonder whether maybe there might be something to a different approach. She became aware of the story of Azim Khamisa, whose 20-year-old son was shot and killed. Somehow, almost immediately, Khamisa began moving toward forgiveness: “There were victims at both ends of that gun,” he told a friend. Of course, the intention toward forgiveness was started as just that, and it did little to salve the pain, anger, and grief that plagued him initially. But the process led to salvation of his mind and soul. Bettencourt was naturally interested in finding her own peace of mind, so she began to explore other stories of forgiveness against all odds. She sees the intersection of forgiveness and redemption in the process of asking for forgiveness for herself, and she has learned that forgiveness requires restoring trust not just in others, but also in ourselves. Forgiving one’s parents, not only for things they have done, but also for the things they should have done, presents the difficult challenge of accepting shortcomings we often see in ourselves.

Bettencourt takes a broad view of opportunities small and large for forgiveness, and in doing so, she provides hope for a way forward that focuses more on acceptance than retribution.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59463-263-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hudson Street/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more