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

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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