While the FBI investigation continues to play itself out in court, Sokolove’s welcome context could well influence the court...

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THE LAST TEMPTATION OF RICK PITINO

A STORY OF CORRUPTION, SCANDAL, AND THE BIG BUSINESS OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Though focusing on one disgraced coach and his former program, this exposé shows just how wide and deep is the corruption corroding men’s college basketball.

The financial figures are staggering. The Louisville basketball program, the most profitable in the nation, generated $45.6 million in 2017, the year in which the third scandal under coach Rick Pitino cost him his job. Each year, March Madness alone generates “more than $10 billion” in wagers, and in 2017, the NCAA itself made more than $1 billion in revenue, much of it from TV rights. Even websites that report on recruiting “have been acquired by or merged with larger corporate partners in deals worth at least $300 million in total.” As New York Times Magazine contributing writer Sokolove (Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater, 2014, etc.) effectively puts in perspective, the scandal that cost Pitino his job and has kept a prize recruit from eligibility during his first two years in college involves only $100,000, less than a fifth of which was ever paid by the shoe company that was supposed to funnel it to the recruit’s father. There have been no criminal charges filed against Pitino or the recruit and no evidence that either had knowledge of the payments. Yet the author’s reporting makes it clear that Pitino knew more than he has been willing to admit about how the recruiting game is played. This is true of most big-time coaches and knowledgeable fans, who know about major corporations and fast-talking hustlers trying to get their hooks into promising players as young as grade school and steer them to colleges that have contractual ties with shoe companies. It’s “a climate of moral rot” that will exist as long as college basketball generates huge sums of money while those who play the game, often from underprivileged families, are supposed to receive nothing.

While the FBI investigation continues to play itself out in court, Sokolove’s welcome context could well influence the court of public opinion.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-56327-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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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

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

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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

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