An optimistic account that effectively advocates treating disease as something to work through— not fight.

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HERE WE GROW

MINDFULNESS THROUGH CANCER AND BEYOND

An entrepreneur and speaker chronicles her breast cancer journey in this debut memoir and self-help book.

Davis was only 38 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news was not a complete surprise; she had noticed a lump but delayed seeing a doctor due to her growing business, BlueAvocado. She and her family had endured too many recent brushes with cancer. She had lost two aunts over several years, and her college friend Courtney had just been told she had breast cancer. After her diagnosis, Davis vowed never to use the terms “fight” or “battle” to describe her cancer odyssey. Already experienced with alternative medicine and spiritual practices, she quickly assembled a team—half-jokingly calling it “Team Woo-Woo”—and apprised it of her treatment plan. With her parents and sisters by her side, she had surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Learning that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, she underwent six months of chemotherapy. Surrounded by an amazing support group of family, friends, and colleagues, Davis managed to remain upbeat, admitting that not having to worry about medical or living expenses was a privilege not everyone gets to enjoy. While she underwent traditional medical treatment for her cancer, she supplemented her healing with therapy from Flint Sparks, a psychotherapist and Zen Buddhist priest. Despite the name she gave her team, Davis formulated a treatment plan that was not outlandish. Primarily a memoir, this book—which features a few photographs—is very readable, surprisingly enjoyable, and truly uplifting. The author does not recommend any outrageous diets or cleansing rituals. Davis merely suggests that patients achieve a greater self-awareness and remain in tune with their bodies instead of acting like a war is being waged. She is refreshingly upfront about all aspects of her operation, treatment, and recovery, explaining the reconstructive surgery and decisions for her nipple tattoos. The most painful part of the work focuses on her decision not to delay her surgery to harvest eggs, forcing her to accept that she will never give birth to children. As Davis reveals in her engrossing book, she embarked on her cancer journey with a key advantage: She was already meditating and embracing holistic living.

An optimistic account that effectively advocates treating disease as something to work through— not fight.

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-381-6

Page Count: 141

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 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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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

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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