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



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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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