A familiar, relatable story of dependence and repentance, filtered through the glam of Hollywood.

READ REVIEW

I'LL BE BACK RIGHT AFTER THIS

A MEMOIR

The star-filled career of one of America’s most famous entertainment show anchors, complicated by true confessions of a spectacular fall from grace.

When Charlie Sheen tells you, “That was an excellent effort, my man,” it’s probably time to take stock of your life. That’s where O’Brien (Talkin' Sports: A B.S.-er's Guide, 2008, etc.) found himself in 2005 when a series of sexually graphic, drug-and-alcohol–fueled voice-mail messages appeared in the tabloid press. Recorded during an epic drunken blackout, the messages were just one red flag for a man racing toward destruction. “Mine is a story of daydreams and fulfilled and unfulfilled ambitions,” he writes in the introduction, “of the craving for love from strangers and for belonging at the table, of failure and of redemption.” From there, the author tells a rich and well-written—if not overly complex—history of his rise from modest roots in South Dakota to becoming one of the most well-known media commentators in the country. In addition to being quite entertaining, there’s something for everyone in O’Brien’s story. Sports fans will thrill to anecdotes about legends like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, told with obvious nostalgia for the 1980s and ’90s, when the author covered the Olympics, NBA Finals, Final Four and Super Bowl, among other sporting events. Consumers of tabloids will enjoy the juicy tales from a host who readily admits he’s a name-dropper. “And it goes both ways; there’s a reason people want to talk with us,” he writes. “We are the link to the fans. So, it’s not me, folks, it’s the profession. If I didn’t get to know people, I wouldn’t be around long.” In the final third of the book, O’Brien covers his dramatic descent into a brutal, life-threatening alcoholism that took two stints in rehab to survive, complete with notes from his doctors that read, “Surrender or else.”

A familiar, relatable story of dependence and repentance, filtered through the glam of Hollywood.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-312-56437-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more