A likable, mostly generous and well-written look back at the days of bedding starlets and destroying hotels.



In which Roderick David Stewart, aka Rod the Mod, bares all—not least the secrets of spiky hair.

If Keith Richards is the dangerous old man of rock ’n’ roll, Rod Stewart is the standards-crooning nice old geezer. Even in his down-and-dirty days—for example, snorting mounds of cocaine with pal Elton John—he was a nice guy, unless, perhaps, you were married to him. This memoir sails from one mostly amiable anecdote to another, quickly revealing an odd factoid: Like recent memoirist Neil Young, Stewart is a model-train fanatic (“In December 2010, I reached a major career milestone. I appeared on the cover of Model Railroader magazine for the second time. Getting on the front of Rolling Stone had nothing on this”). Unlike Young, Stewart is no motor geek. He admits to liking to drive cool cars without feeling the need to know anything about them, instead reserving his major store of passion for models (female, not railroads) and soccer. Stewart charts his rise from unwashed beatnik poet to lead singer with the Faces, a position fraught with politics and intrigue. He is surprisingly modest about the three great solo albums that marked his work in the early 1970s, though he does reveal the secret of how “Maggie May” came to be written, and he is nicely cheeky about his decline later in the decade (“I may have lost the thread a couple of times in that period”). Even so, he professes to being somewhat mystified by his being named the enemy of all things punk in the ’70s, since the likes of the Sex Pistols worshiped the Faces. He pulls off a nice and not too heavy-handed bit of comeuppance, though, even while compounding his enemy status with the runaway commercial success of his four albums of grandpa-era standards, which is perhaps forgivable in a man approaching 70.

A likable, mostly generous and well-written look back at the days of bedding starlets and destroying hotels.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-98730-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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 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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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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