In his memoir, Pelullo recounts the repeated sexual molestations he suffered as a child and how he and his parents kept the acts a secret for more than 40 years.

Pelullo has written a frank, often painful account of his molestation perpetrated at the hands of two older boys in his neighborhood. (One of his rapists was the son of one of his mother’s best friends.) When Pelullo’s parents discovered the truth, they took him to their family doctor who advised them not to discuss it and hopefully Pelullo would forget the experience. As an adult, the author became a leader in his industry and the leader of his family, the man to help his siblings, nieces and nephews. But Pelullo’s rape made him incapable of intimacy, and he grew into a cold, detached, nervous man. He couldn’t give up control, couldn’t see the connection between love and intimacy; he saw only sex, a release, a calming influence, and he sought out women he sensed were as emotionally damaged as he. Thinking the love of a good woman from a fine family would save him, Pelullo married an attractive woman from his neighborhood, and they adopted two sons. For many years, Pelullo kept his secret, hiding the truth and cringing at human warmth and touch. When his sons were older, an e-mail left on Pelullo’s computer screen was found by one of his boys, and the incident forced Pelullo to face his demons, leave his home and family and begin a long journey of recovery. He could no longer be his extended family’s leader, fixing their problems; he learned he had to take care of himself first. After seeing several psychologists, reading many books, joining a group for men and women in the grip of sex addiction, making a new connection with his spiritual side and facing the responsibility for his mistakes, Pelullo eventually remarried his wife and founded the Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation, an online community where survivors of child molestation can tell their stories and continue the healing process. Pelullo’s story is well-told, written with smooth transitions that keep the narrative flowing. As a successful businessman lacking a college education, the author might be expected to produce a choppy, disorganized work at worst, or, at best, a dull, workmanlike story that covers all the bases but doesn’t engage the reader. However, Pelullo does an admirable job of bringing the reader into his painfully honest story, offering a beacon to other victims of sexual abuse and addiction. An impressive, candid effort from a first-time author.


Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615486253

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Only Serenity

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2011

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...


Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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