A cheerful, if unevenly written, remembrance about marriage, business, and chemistry.

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An organic chemist and businessman details his unusual journey in this debut memoir.

After losing his job in 1983, Australian chemist Killick, a father of three, came to an unexpected decision with his wife, Judy, a part-time teacher. They resolved to buy a 50-year-old chemical plant in Melbourne and go into business for themselves. Although the plant had “one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin,” writes Killick in his introduction, “the book records how we reached the point where the grave was filled in whilst the banana proved to be a good fertilizer.” They later found success through the production of “Ee-muls-oyle”—an oil used in the raisin-drying process—and the acquisition of a number of patents. The author and his wife then traveled the world selling their products; eventually, they sold the initial plant and upgraded to a much better facility. As Killick recounts the ups and downs of growing the business over the course of several decades, he makes side trips to inform readers of his early life, his Christian faith, and his deep love of and fruitful marriage to Judy (they refer to their partnership as “the Punch and Judy Travelling show”). He also showcases his goofy sense of humor, which he didn’t hide from his potential business partners. Killick writes in a lighthearted, enthusiastic prose that frequently betrays his own surprise at his own good fortune: “I have a habit of turning to Judy and saying, ‘Drying grapes has got us into some unexpected, quaint places!’ ” The sections of the book dedicated to the building of the chemical company—replete with incidents of improvisation, luck, and near-disaster—will interest anyone who has run, or hopes to run, their own business. The biographical sections, however, are a bit less compelling, and their nonchronological distribution throughout the book makes for an uneven reading experience. That said, readers who have experience with family businesses will find much in common with the author, who’s an entertaining guide through his own story.

A cheerful, if unevenly written, remembrance about marriage, business, and chemistry.

Pub Date: April 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-0705-5

Page Count: 334

Publisher: BalboaPressAU

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 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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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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