An accessible, insightful look at today’s modern families.

In Her Own Sweet Time

EGG FREEZING AND THE NEW FRONTIERS OF FAMILY

A journalist and single mom updates her memoir/social sciences book about emerging routes to parenthood.

In 2009, Lehmann-Haupt (DIY Mom, 2014, etc.) published the first edition of this work. It intertwined her first-person memoir about being a 30-something, world-traveling journalist, wondering whether she should have a child on her own, with research and interviews regarding such techniques as egg and embryo freezing. At the end of the previous edition, the author, after several disappointing romantic breakups, decided to freeze her eggs, noting, “We have more options than ever; understanding them can empower us and, perhaps most important, turn panic into peace.” In this latest edition, she adds footnotes to her previous research, including new findings that showcase how egg-freezing and related technologies have risen in popularity. She also shares the latest news from her own life, including a move from New York City to the San Francisco Bay Area and, most significantly, her decision to have a son, Alexander, at age 40, by using her frozen eggs and an anonymous but highly vetted sperm donor. Now in her mid-40s, Lehmann-Haupt is hopeful that “my husband and Alexander’s adoptive father is out there,” and she marvels at how she and other people she’s met are “on the edge of where families are evolving, consciously and creatively.” In this new edition, she gracefully combines a revealing, engaging memoir with admirably nuanced social commentary. Although she celebrates the joys of being a “DIY mom,” she also depicts its consequences and challenges, such as the idea that a sperm donor may later have contact with his myriad offspring. Readers who are interested in exploring alternative routes to parenthood will, of course, have to do further research beyond this book. But Lehmann-Haupt tees up the topic quite nicely here, in a personable, relatable voice. Her fine-tuned prose is a particular strength, as when she grieves her grandmother’s death while in the arms of a less-than-ideal boyfriend: “as he holds me I feel the generations shift.”

An accessible, insightful look at today’s modern families.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9963074-5-1

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Nothing But The Truth Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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