An entertaining account by an ’80s radio icon.

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WORLD IN MY EYES

A radio DJ recounts his years as a participant in the new-wave scene in this debut memoir.

Blade—a longtime DJ at the Los Angeles radio station KROQ and a television personality credited with helping to popularize new-wave music in America—seems like one of those people who should already have written a book or two. Not so. Blade has only recently put down in print his stories of coming up during the zenith of rock radio, a time when the tastes and personalities of DJs truly shaped the musical landscape. The author recounts growing up in England in the 1960s and discovering rock ’n’ roll via Radio Luxembourg: “The British government frowned upon this intrusion into its airwaves but could do nothing as suddenly every kid in the UK was listening to 208 and buying the songs they heard on the station.” As a young man, he worked as a club DJ in Europe before relocating to Los Angeles to find himself at the epicenter of the music business, interviewing and mingling with some of the greatest stars of the ’80s. From watching “Rio” debut (and bomb) at the Roxy while standing next to Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon to having his heart broken by Terri Nunn of Berlin, Blade takes readers back to 1982 in all its sexy, druggy, synthy glory. The author’s prose is simple, but he’s a natural raconteur who never quite shakes off his own awe at the situations in which he found himself: “We were working long hours, under crazy conditions with drugs and guns in plain sight and doing it all for free.” Like all books of this genre, the work drops a parade of names and delivers a good deal of romanticizing, but Blade’s aversion to drugs and alcohol makes him a more reliable reporter than most from that milieu. Fans of his era of music will find much to appreciate in this autobiography, which manages to capture not only the life of the author, but also the experience of a generation (perhaps the last) for which rock was the greatest force in the world.

An entertaining account by an ’80s radio icon.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990210-7-1

Page Count: 530

Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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