A sensitive, intimate and bold story.

THE WILD OATS PROJECT

ONE WOMAN'S MIDLIFE QUEST FOR PASSION AT ANY COST

A 40-something journalist’s account of her yearlong open-marriage experiment and its consequences.

Rinaldi loved her husband, Scott. Though not especially demonstrative, he was stable, kind and had always been there for her. But he had also made it clear that he had no wish to have children and got a vasectomy. With no hope of creating a family and hungry to experience the passion that was missing from her marriage, the author embarked on what she and Scott would jokingly dub the “Wild Oats Project”: an open marriage that would permit both to see others outside of their immediate social circle. From the start, “good girl” Rinaldi broke rules and slept with someone both she and Scott knew. After that, she began consulting with seduction experts schooled in the ways of “pleasure, flirtation, sensuality and abundance,” advertising for short-term partners on hookup websites and trying out one-night stands with hot young strangers half her age. Her journey eventually led her to OneTouch, an “urban commune” dedicated to the open exploration of desire. There, she met, and slept with, other seekers of sexual wisdom, including one woman with whom she had a lesbian fling and another with whom she had a “girl on girl on boy” threesome. Toward the end of her “project,” Rinaldi unexpectedly heard from one of her short-term partners, a man with whom she had fallen in love and who had fallen in love with her. Now fully able to see the limitations in her marriage, she chose to take a chance with her former lover and accept the consequences, both positive and negative. Never apologizing for her actions, the author writes that her project was something that her “soul drove [her] to do,” a difficult challenge she could refuse only with the risk of losing the personal enlightenment she was seeking all along.

A sensitive, intimate and bold story.

Pub Date: March 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-29021-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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