A surprisingly multifaceted work that delves deep into the personal and the political.



A debut memoir reflects on a life of serving others, from fighting AIDS in Africa to securing health funding in the United States.

Born to a family of Philadelphia sandwich shop owners in the early 1960s, Zeitz was heavily affected at a young age when he learned about the Holocaust. From that point on, he vowed to make sure he would not sit idly by during any future genocide. Relying on a defiant spirit to achieve his goals, the author pursued a medical degree, eventually becoming an osteopathic physician. In college, he met Mindi Cohen, and after some ups and downs, they were married in the early ’90s. After his wedding, Zeitz took a position in Nigeria to do fieldwork for a short time and then became a field epidemiologist in the American Southwest, where he and Mindi had their first child. After that, he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development health program across the world, particularly in Africa. He then moved his wife and three kids to Zambia to become a government health adviser, covering many bases—AIDS, nutrition, and population. There, he saw up close the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa, adopted an orphaned child, and attempted to get more funds from the United States—sometimes to the chagrin of his bosses. After one too many steps over the line, the author moved back to America, where he became a successful activist, working with (and sometimes against) the government to raise money for AIDS outreach. But the unearthing of a dark family secret threatened to unravel all of his accomplishments. In his engrossing book, Zeitz ably finds a way to balance the telling of his personal and professional challenges and achievements and is particularly effective in showing how they affect one another. It is hard to doubt his commitment to his titular cause as he writes with a furious passion that seems to enjoin readers in a global struggle. At one point in Zambia, he stopped to see what merchants were hawking: “They were selling coffins—adult-sized, and ones small enough for children and babies. The injustice I saw in front of me burned like a raging fire through my soul.” But the author also unflinchingly describes his own mistakes and traumas, making for a well-rounded character study.

A surprisingly multifaceted work that delves deep into the personal and the political.

Pub Date: June 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982205-44-7

Page Count: 370

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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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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