A forthright memoir of pain and aspirations enlivened by sharp portraits of a host of colorful celebrities.




The theater world of the 1950s forms the backdrop for a star-studded memoir.

Before she became a journalist and biographer, whose subjects include Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando, Bosworth (Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman, 2011, etc.) was an actress who trained at the Actors Studio (along with Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and Steve McQueen) and performed on and off Broadway, on several TV soap operas, and on film as Audrey Hepburn’s friend in The Nun’s Story. The author recounts the glamorous highs and frustrating lows of trying to succeed as an actress, offering juicy anecdotes featuring a large cast of the actors, directors, and playwrights who comprised the important men in her young life. In addition, she revisits some material from her previous memoir, Anything Your Little Heart Desires (1997), focused on her father, Bartley Crum, a lawyer who defended the Hollywood Ten and suffered reprisals during the McCarthy years; and her brother, Bart Jr., who killed himself in 1953. The two Barts are the men who affected her most. She dedicates the memoir to Bart Jr.; unfortunately, she records verbatim her imaginary, rather immature, conversations with him, which persisted long after his death. Bosworth longed to extricate herself from a “family full of terrible silences” that refused to recognize Bart’s homosexuality, find help for his depression, and acknowledge her father’s alcoholism and drug dependency. Her father eventually killed himself, as well. Her first act of rebellion was to elope when she was still in her teens. “By choosing someone my parents disapproved of,” she writes, “I found myself released from all traditional expectations.” But marriage was not the answer: her husband, a would-be artist, abused her; finally, with her father’s help, she got a divorce. She divulges an affair with an older, married man, who opened some professional doors; a later abortion; and, in 1966, marriage. By then, she had given up acting to become a writer.

A forthright memoir of pain and aspirations enlivened by sharp portraits of a host of colorful celebrities.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-228790-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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

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.


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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