Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of those stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable...

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LET THE TORNADO COME

A MEMOIR

This lyrical debut memoir reveals the indelible consequences of childhood abuse.

Poet and essayist Chin was raised in an atmosphere of violence. Her depressed, angry mother rejected her, and her father savagely beat her. “For as long as I can remember,” writes the author, “I knew that my parents were out of control. I knew they were capable of anything.” At the age of 11, she started running away from home; by the time she was 14, she was in jail. She spent the next years living in state-run institutions or on the streets, sleeping in stairwells “or, more often, the questionable beds of men and women.” Chin became a stripper, abused drugs and sold herself for sex. Addicted to cocaine, she realized that she had hit bottom. Drawing on a spark of inner strength, she managed to wrest control of her life, earning a GED, taking college courses and eventually completing an MFA degree. Then, in her mid-30s, married to a neurosurgeon, just having moved into their first home, she became overwhelmed with panic attacks. She was afraid to climb stairs, leave her house and drive on highways. Desperate, she sought help from an array of medical professionals, with varying success. Finally, she found a measure of peace from riding horses, particularly one skittish horse whose reaction to the world mirrored her own. Cantering, she discovered, felt “like the opposite of panic…it was only by holding on so tightly that I could begin learning how to get go.” She discovered, too, that panic “wasn’t a virus or an erratic black bird…in the end, panic was me.” Although she could not escape her past, it need not dominate the present: “No matter how many stories you put on top of the first story, the first one is always there, visible.”

Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of those stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable resilience.

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3486-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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 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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