A raw and eloquently unflinching memoir.

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GOOD MORNING, DESTROYER OF MEN'S SOULS

A MEMOIR OF WOMEN, ADDICTION, AND LOVE

An Oakland-based writer and editor tells the story of a passionate but co-dependent long-term affair that ended her marriage and became the “disease” that nearly destroyed her.

Aron was a teenager just out of high school when she first met K, a man in his 20s, in San Francisco. Newly arrived from New Jersey, she had come to California to “[collect] experiences” and escape a home life that, though loving, had also become chaotic. Their romance, which K ended, lasted only a few months, but it left her feeling “sick with [a] love” she never forgot. Aron eventually returned to the East Coast to attend college and deal with the fallout surrounding a drug-addicted sister and a mother who could not disconnect from that sister’s dramas. She then went to graduate school at Harvard, where she met the “tawny, rangy, beautiful boy” who became her partner. They moved to Berkeley, where they married and had a son. Yet despite her good fortune, the author could not “outrun my own sadness,” much of which stemmed from witnessing people she loved struggle with addiction and codependence. Diagnosed with both major depressive disorder and dysthymia, she found herself forced to confront the fact that marriage had transformed “hot, young, carefree love” into a prison. As she desperately attempted to understand and embrace her life, K suddenly reappeared, this time on Facebook, and they began a friendship that quickly developed into an affair. Discovering she was pregnant, Aron tried and ultimately failed to reconcile with her husband. She and K then began a relationship in which she soon found herself not only fighting with him about substance abuse problems, but sometimes partaking in and even funding K’s addictions. Interwoven throughout with meditations on desire, caretaking, and the role of early feminists like Carrie Nation in the modern temperance movement, the narrative offers dramatic and compelling insight into Aron’s struggles with codependency as it complicates the relationship among femininity, feminism, and enabling.

A raw and eloquently unflinching memoir.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-57667-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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