Part memoir, part journal, part plan-in-progress, Bates has no time for self-pity, preferring instead to celebrate all that...

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LOOKING IN THE MIRROR OUT

Labeled with Multiple Personality and Dissociative Identity disorders, author Bates writes about the 18 personalities living in her head.

Bates collectively refers to her personalities as “The Long Black Train.” The train includes: Maverick, alternating between 1 and 5 years old, who is tasked with keeping “Nora” alive; Baby, Kitty, The Little Ones, Lily, Awww, Rant, Fishy and Worm all have their specific jobs; and, it’s up to Time Keeper to keep Maverick informed and the train on the rails. Bates writes her story with clear intent and purpose. Her prose is not meant to enhance, but simply to reveal the unadorned truth of her ongoing struggle with mental illness.  Bates understands that it’s not easy for friends and loved ones to deal with her condition, that they invariably perpetuate the problem with their incessant query of whether she has taken her meds whenever the slightest shift in emotion is detected. In relaying her plight, Bates makes it clear that she isn’t going to accept her fate without a fight. However, it’s that acceptance that allows her to better deal with the issues at hand and enables her to appreciate each victory—such as keeping the voices at bay long enough to have a meaningful conversation with a stranger or completing important tasks. Even with no real linear direction, Bates’ conveyance of the chaos in her head creates its own random flow that falls into an agreeable rhythm of order. The author has put great effort into working on herself, trying to control Rant’s explosive anger and deal with Kat’s self-deprecation, The Little Ones’ deathly fears and Maverick’s lack of drive. Trying to reunite a mind that has fractured into 18 parts is not easy, and Bates rightfully savors her triumphs and accepts setbacks with grace. Showing strength and determination that is often found lacking in “normals,” Bates’ voice is clear and strong, and her message carries weight.

Part memoir, part journal, part plan-in-progress, Bates has no time for self-pity, preferring instead to celebrate all that she is grateful for.

Pub Date: March 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468548426

Page Count: 268

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

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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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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