MISDIAGNOSED

THE SEARCH FOR DR. HOUSE

Beamon’s first memoir (I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married, 2009) tells of how multiple specialists struggled to diagnose her many ailments.
The author began her battle with chronic illness in her mid-20s, just as she started a new high-pressure job as a television journalist in New York City. Early on, her symptoms descended upon her with vigor, including abdominal and joint pain, debilitating fatigue and fevers. She collapsed at work, at home and even on her first overnight stay with a man who became her longtime boyfriend. Soon, her life revolved around exam rooms, lab tests and medical forms. Beamon hid her condition at work despite growing weaker as years passed. Eventually, after both her parents had health scares of their own, Beamon became despondent about ever feeling well again. Her desperation, frustration and, later, anger at being subjected to multiple hospital visits, invasive exams, and increasingly befuddled experts led her to search for a Sherlock of rare illnesses—her own “Dr. House,” as in the former Fox television drama House, M.D. Using Google, Beamon found her doctor-savior in an autoimmune disorder specialist named Dr. Reed; once the physician gave her condition a name (or, rather, a collection of initials followed by a numeral: IgG4-related systemic disease), Beamon found peace of mind at last. Much of the book follows her numbing routine of doctors’ appointments, which becomes less distressing and more mundane as the book goes on. At first, her confusion and anger at each inconclusive test result seem overwrought, but later, her voice turns jaded, reflecting the toll that the anxiety had taken on her mind and body. Beamon includes moments when her precarious health is in check, including intimate rendezvous with men in her life. At times, she alternates naughty sex acts with graphic medical incidents, and this variety is engaging—even shocking. However, it also makes the book’s plot seem uneven. Overall, the author’s vacillating health status drives much of the action, and at times, her pessimistic inner monologue can feel draining, yet she rarely succumbs to self-pity.

A saga of dealing with a chronic illness that shows how health intertwines with work, love and life.

Pub Date: July 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500436674

Page Count: 344

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2014

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?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more