HERE COMES TROUBLE

STORIES FROM MY LIFE

Filmmaker and progressive activist Moore comes roaring back with his first new book since Dude, Where’s My Country? (2003).

The author’s theme this time, at least organizationally, is himself—he calls this “a book of short stories based on events that took place in the early years of my life,” even though many of the stories are set in his fifth and sixth decades and, so far as we know, they’re factual rather than fictitious. Think of it as a memoir turned slightly on its side. Whatever the case, it’s vintage Moore, beginning with a highly satisfying tale of redemption (and gloat-free revenge) in the wake of his condemnation of George W. Bush at the Academy Awards ceremony. Moore was no stranger to death threats, but after that episode, they came fast and furious, and he had to hire bodyguards—and not just to satisfy unfounded paranoia. Homeland Security, he alleges, even keyed his gold Oscar statue, “scratching long lines into its gold plate.” Fast-forward a few years, and Moore is, if not a hero, at least no longer persona non grata, now that the rest of country has caught up with the dissimulations and deceptions of the Bush administration. Elsewhere, the author writes of footloose ancestors who brought his bloodline to blue-collar Michigan and their peculiar big-headed evolutionary marker: “The craniums in our part of the country were designed to leave a little extra room for the brain to grow should we ever have a chance to learn anything outside of our rigid and insular lives.” From the pleasures of night baseball to family arguments over long hair and Vietnam to early forays into politics, Moore turns in a readable, and often quite funny, American story.  Indeed, Moore considers himself a patriot; as he writes, if you see his movies, “you will instantly know that I deeply love this country.” This spirited, most welcome book is more evidence of that affection.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-446-53224-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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