An energetic accounting of life’s maladies and their survivability, conducted through prose and poetry.



A debut book offers a wide-ranging and deeply personal study of the process of individual healing.

As the underpinning for his work, Moore interviewed many people on all parts of the health care spectrum—from caregivers like nurses to the loved ones of patients—to explore concepts of healing, both mental and physical, and alternate therapies that might be effective in a wide variety of situations. The author, for example, suffers from chronic sciatic pain and describes at one point the array of treatment strategies he underwent, from physical therapy to spinal injections to reflexology to “pet therapy” and shamanic breath-control rituals. He looks at Eastern philosophy and other exotic practices, all with an aim to “liberate our spirits in ecstatic ways” and get readers in touch with their own inner resources. Moore uses extended passages of autobiography as well as humor and his own poetry to help make sense of a great many aspects of modern life, not only health-related issues, but also social topics like politics, sexuality, and 9/11. He always employs a holistic overview and the variously worded reminder to “enjoy every single miraculous moment in its endless new unfolding.” Each chapter ends with discussion questions and reflection prompts, and the main text likewise reflects this kind of interactive approach. Moore holds that the mistake of both science and religion is a tendency to generalize and dogmatize the personal medical and spiritual experiences that are in fact unique to each person, and he urges readers to “declare our divinity” by looking inward for healing and a sense of renewal. The book’s prose remains lively and approachable throughout, although Moore has perhaps misjudged the balance of his materials: his own chunks of autobiography are almost always more intriguing than his more philosophical discussions, for instance, and like most personal poetry, the author’s own verses can at times be more awkward than enlightening. The main strength of the book lies in the sense it gives of Moore’s own journey.

An energetic accounting of life’s maladies and their survivability, conducted through prose and poetry.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4907-7496-1

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

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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.


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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