Good advice backed by research coupled with personal reflections by a father on how to let children grow up to be...

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LOVE THAT BOY

WHAT TWO PRESIDENTS, EIGHT ROAD TRIPS, AND MY SON TAUGHT ME ABOUT A PARENT'S EXPECTATIONS

A man opens up about his shortcomings as a father.

Before his son was born, National Journal senior political columnist Fournier (co-author: Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business, & Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community, 2006, etc.) had a variety of expectations about what life would be like with him. They would certainly bond over sports, as the author had done with his father, and his son would be intelligent and socially well-adapted. Fournier’s hopes were no different than those of millions of other parents who want their children to achieve great things, but his son, Tyler, wasn’t interested in sports, he talked too loudly, and he had no sense of when he had stepped outside the boundaries of normal social conventions. It took more than a decade of this behavior before Fournier and his wife realized Tyler had Asperger’s. The author began to rethink everything he knew about being a father and tried to figure out new ways to bond with Tyler. Instead of forcing more sports on his son, Fournier opted to go on road trips to visit the homes of several former presidents, men he knew Tyler admired. This is the personal story of Fournier’s transformation into a new father figure. It is also filled with research and interviews with parents and children on the expectations, hopes, and dreams they have for their children and the potential damage those pressures can cause. The desire to please the parent is so heavy that many children are “experiencing depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders and substance abuse…privileged kids also are more likely to develop stress, exhaustion…an unhealthy reliance on others for support, and a poor sense of self.” In a straightforward manner, Fournier outlines each of these issues and provides clues on how parents can tone down their hopes so their children can have happier childhoods and more fulfilling adulthoods.

Good advice backed by research coupled with personal reflections by a father on how to let children grow up to be individuals rather than miniature versions of their parents.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8041-4048-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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