An intimate portrait of personal struggles and artistic triumphs.

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I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE AND I'M NOT GOING

THE ART SCENE AND DOWNTOWN NEW YORK IN THE 1980S

A frank memoir reveals life, art, and death in 1980s New York.

Growing up in suburban Syracuse, McGough was shy, gay, and frequently bullied. In high school, he found refuge in the art room, peopled by “artists and outcasts” like himself, and he became recognized for his talent. After graduating in 1978, he headed eagerly to New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, hoping to find sexual freedom at last. In his candid debut memoir, the author vividly conveys the turbulence and seediness of the “dirty and dangerous” West Village and of Times Square, “a mess of dirty old theaters” showing horror movies and pornography. “It was everything I dreamed of and more,” he admits, and he spent his tuition money in nightclubs, including the infamous Studio 54, and on rent for squalid rooms. When his money ran out, he took odd jobs illustrating, sketching, and, at one point, painting Danceteria, a new nightclub, where he also worked as a busboy. McGough’s life changed when he met David McDermott, an eccentric, charismatic artist who rejected the modern world as “cheap and vulgar,” claimed he was a genius (and, sometimes, Jesus), and carefully curated environments for himself filled with Victoriana. McDermott’s world, McGough writes, “became immediately alluring, and I felt safe and cut off from a world I thought harsh and cruel.” Soon he, too, was wearing shirts with highly starched detachable collars, frock coats, and homburg hats: “We felt we were making a statement by our very existence.” The two became lovers and artistic collaborators, signing their works with both surnames and eventually gaining a reputation among dealers, collectors, curators (they showed twice at Whitney Biennales), and fellow artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Julian Schnabel. In a world filled with narcissists, grifters, and assorted lost souls, Schnabel and his wife, cleareyed and compassionate, stand out. Bitterness and anger sometimes surface as the author recounts betrayal, severe financial hardship brought about by McDermott’s wanton spending, and years of suffering from AIDS.

An intimate portrait of personal struggles and artistic triumphs.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4704-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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