Engaging and articulate; an enjoyable ride alongside a woman with a lust for adventure.



Investment Banker Marin (Global Pension Crisis: Unfunded Liabilities and How We Can Fill the Gap, 2013) pens a tribute to his mother, an unconventional, fiery force of nature.

Ludmilla “Millie” Uher was born in the small upstate town of Myers, New York. She was the daughter of two immigrants from Czechoslovakia who separately traveled to the New World in 1901. Her father, John, found employment in the salt mines by Lake Cayuga. Eventually, he would own property and businesses (including a profitable Prohibition-fueled sideline) that would ensure his family’s security. Millie, the first in her family to finish high school, went on to obtain a degree from Cornell University and began a career with the New York State Welfare Department. Seven years later, she was off to the far reaches of Venezuela, working for an outreach program run by the Rockefeller Foundation. It was the beginning of a life devoted to creating and running international development programs for the United Nations. In Venezuela, she met and married Andre Silvano Prosdocimi (later changed to Marin), a handsome, smooth-talking Italian transplant. They had three children (including the author) before they divorced after 10 years, leaving Millie to provide for her family on her own. Marin’s able prose is cloaked in the tone of a third-person biographer, referring to his mother as Millie and himself as “Richard.” The result is a text that is more dispassionate (albeit admiring) than one would expect from offspring—with one consistent exception. All descriptions of Andre betray the sting of a son neglected by a self-centered father. Sharp-edged humor infuses every reference to the man he introduces as “Mr. Wonderful.” He writes: “His only fatherly advice to his son in his later life would be to ‘never let anyone but an Italian cut your hair.’ ” Marin’s tendency to wander into ancillary subjects—the geological and immigration history of upstate New York, the development of the ski industry in New England—are informative and interesting, although some readers may find them disruptive.

Engaging and articulate; an enjoyable ride alongside a woman with a lust for adventure.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2017


Page Count: -

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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