A beautiful, meditative account of literary and historical merit.

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The Rose Temple

A CHILD HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR'S VISION OF FAITH, HOPE AND OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE

A debut memoir about adversity, identity, and a mystical quest for spiritual succor.

When Lucia Weitzman was just a child in Poland and still known as “Rose,” her Jewish parents were desperate to shelter her from the occupying Nazis. Their first attempt to place her with a Christian couple backfired; the two quickly returned the girl but not the money her parents had given them. Determined to find her a new home, they tried again; this time, their daughter was placed in the custody of the Swiateks, a couple that raised her as if she was their own. She grew up largely unaware of her Jewish heritage, disconnected from her own bloodline—an estranged diaspora of one. Years later, while living in the United States, her husband, Herman, died, and she was once again wracked with grief. She traveled to Jerusalem and visited the Western Wall in search of spiritual guidance, and she challenged God with a question that bordered on insolence: “God, why were You removed and not involved during dark periods on the planet, like the Holocaust, 9/11, and other tragedies?” Theologically speaking, she was posing the classic question regarding the problem of evil. On a more personal level, though, she was taking God to task for his ostensible abandonment of her in particular. She then had an overwhelming moment of mystical epiphany, sincerely believing that God had furnished her with an answer. This remembrance is co-penned by S. Mitchell Weitzman, Lucia’s son, and the intimacy and affection of their relationship emanates from every page. However, the narrative jumps back and forth between Lucia’s childhood and adulthood, and these quick chronological transitions can be disorienting. The poignancy of her revelations, though, and her lifelong quest to rediscover her lost self will enthrall even readers who are skeptical of all things mystical. Although there’s no shortage of stories out there recounting the depredations of the Holocaust, it’s especially stirring to see one from the double perspective of youth and adulthood.

A beautiful, meditative account of literary and historical merit.

Pub Date: May 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9961177-0-8

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Solomon Berl Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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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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