An uplifting but unfocused remembrance and testimonial.

THY WILL O LORD

MY IMPERFECTIONS & THE GRACE OF GOD REVEALED, 2ND ED.

A devoutly Christian Nigerian man’s memoir of immigrating to the United States.

Omolaja’s work covers the story of his life in two distinct sections, beginning with his birth in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1953. The author spent his early adulthood in the early 1970s, after a stint in the army, moving to different cities looking for work and usually finding it as a driver for wealthier residents, whom he came to see as “educated fools” for their materialist obsessions. Omolaja was raised as a Muslim but had a sudden revelation at the age of 21, when, he says, a disembodied voice whispered in his ear, saying, “Jesus is the Son of God, He is the Lord and the Savior of the world.” His family members had him committed to a mental health institution, he says, but he remained determined to witness for Jesus. His spiritual path eventually led him to Selma University, a historically black Baptist Bible college in Alabama. However, Omolaja later experienced financial hardship as he moved around the American South, attempting to fulfill his calling to minister to the mentally ill and others struggling in society. The book’s second half provides readers with chapters on a range of topics, including practical issues for Christians, such as the importance of water baptisms, and wider theological debates about prophecies, angels, and the might of God. Omolaja accompanies his thoughts on these subjects with ample biblical references and “Spiritual Exercises” in the style of a daily devotional. However, his attempts to address Christian and non-Christian readers alike may leave some readers unsure of how a chapter specifically applies to them. The book’s autobiographical portion offers plenty of engaging and positive ideas, especially when dealing with the author’s difficulty adapting to American life and his unflappably good intentions toward everyone he met. At the same time, readers may find some of his accounts of spiritual encounters difficult to believe, as when he claims to have brought a young child back from the dead.

An uplifting but unfocused remembrance and testimonial.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64753-086-0

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Urlink Print & Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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