Engaging and touching yet written from a very specific Christian point of view.

THE TRUSTWORTHY GOD

A largely autobiographical debut guide focuses on trusting God through life’s ups and downs.

Eastwell provides an often moving account of her own life as it concerns her faith. Dividing her work into chapters by what she terms “categories,” the author shares dozens of personal tales concerning God’s intervention in her life and the lives of others she has known. In almost all cases, these stories result from her interactions with the Holy Spirit, either through the Spirit’s initiative or her own decision to seek out direction. Eastwell’s tales are wide-ranging and cover both concrete circumstances (like financial provision and healing) as well as spiritual ones (such as witnessing to others and protecting against evil). Throughout her heartfelt book, Eastwell uses Scripture heavily to back up conclusions or to supply biblical evidence. The author’s command of Scripture is obviously strong, and she effortlessly quotes and cites from the King James Version of the Bible, the only one she professes to trust. But despite Eastwell’s meaningful and accessible prose, many mainstream Christians and certainly most non-Christians will likely be struck, if not somewhat disconcerted, by the highly esoteric language and ideas that the author utilizes as a conservative Pentecostal. Eastwell’s work is immersed in a mindset of spiritual warfare at a level that only a small portion of Christians will understand. For instance, she advises asking God to “block any misuse of our own identifying information or even DNA…which may give unclean spirits an ‘address’ to target.” Elsewhere, she mentions having repented for once taking up yoga and intimates that Buddhism is akin to witchcraft. In another story, the author recalls having a heart attack, which she believed was caused by certain “voodoo” objects in her home. Once the items were removed, her health returned. Even many practicing Christians will likely find such statements foreign to the faith they know.

Engaging and touching yet written from a very specific Christian point of view.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-8402-4

Page Count: 102

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: May 29, 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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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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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