A useful aggregation of timely information and personal insight that will provide clarity, if not comfort, for single women...

IN HER OWN SWEET TIME

UNEXPECTED ADVENTURES IN FINDING LOVE, COMMITMENT, AND MOTHERHOOD

The executive editor of Plum, a magazine for pregnant women over 35, considers the myriad choices available to women who want children but haven’t found Mr. Right.

Lehmann-Haupt’s first book is a personal documentary; she presents statistics, interviews and analysis alongside her own story. She began research on the reproductive options for single women when she was 32, after a relationship she thought would lead to marriage and children ended. The book follows her through a six-year journey: fertility tests, online dating escapades, a serious relationship with a guy who couldn’t commit, sperm-donor shopping and finally oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) at the NYU Fertility Clinic. She interviewed mothers who were single by choice, the Italian doctors who invented the egg-freezing procedure, marketing executives from the company Extend Fertility, gay “bio dads” who donate sperm and “insta-couples” who decide to get pregnant within a year of meeting and aren’t embarrassed by a baby bump under a wedding gown. Most of the stories are positive, but Lehmann-Haupt doesn’t try to sell happy endings. Many of the procedures, including in vitro fertilization, embryo freezing and intrauterine insemination, are so physically, emotionally and financially draining that one single woman’s doctor asked her why she didn’t just have unprotected sex with a friend. The author actively reflects on important questions brought on by this modern reproductive landscape: How old is too old? Would she want her child to meet his half sisters on DonorSiblingRegistry.com? Does the ability to biologically postpone childbearing give career women rightful peace of mind or will it prevent society from “adapting to the needs of working mothers?” Adoption is addressed only briefly; this is a book for women who are mainly interested in passing on their genetic material (or their future husbands’) and in the experience of being pregnant.

A useful aggregation of timely information and personal insight that will provide clarity, if not comfort, for single women over 30 still set on having kids.

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-465-00919-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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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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