Movingly captures the effect one well-loved teenager had on his community.

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A FAR CRY...FROM HOME

A MOTHER'S JOURNEY OF LOVE, LOSS AND HEALING...THROUGH THE EYES OF AN ANGEL

Debut author Richards’ novel is based on the author’s journey through grief after the loss of her son.

When 16-year-old Tyler died in a car accident in Walled Lake, Mich., on Sept. 21, 2003, the tragedy sent shock waves through his family and his community. His parents and brother suffered the sharpest sense of loss, but as a kind, popular teen, many friends and neighbors felt the weight of his death as well. In the novel, everyone mourns differently—some look for signs that he’s with them in spirit, some cope with their feelings through writing, some speak about him at public functions to honor his memory—and while the pain never disappears completely, his loved ones gradually begin to heal as they draw together in support and affection. Richards spends some time exploring the aftereffects of Tyler’s death from the teen’s perspective as he watches over his grieving loved ones from heaven. The emphasis, however, is primarily on his mother’s mourning process (Tyler watches over her whenever she visits his grave or writes in her journal). The book also includes a large number of letters and poems written about Tyler, and these help diversify the perspective. In one letter, his cousin Megan said, “I promise to continue to tell every person I meet about the wonderful person you were.” His friend Amy wrote a poem: “Goodbye to my friend / There will never be an end / To what you’ve left behind / To the memories, in everyone’s mind.” The notes vary, but each expresses how much Tyler means to whomever wrote it. The people who knew Tyler while he was alive continue to be affected by him after his death. The book describes Tyler as a hardworking athlete with great spirit and an eagerness to help his peers whenever possible; after his death, a scholarship fund is set up in his memory, and the money is awarded to those students who best exhibit his degree of sportsmanship.

Movingly captures the effect one well-loved teenager had on his community.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1460212882

Page Count: 216

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2014

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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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The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION

The creator and host of the titular podcast recounts his lifelong struggles with depression.

With the increasing success of his podcast, Moe, a longtime radio personality and author whose books include The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody (2015), was encouraged to open up further about his own battles with depression and delve deeper into characteristics of the disease itself. Moe writes about how he has struggled with depression throughout his life, and he recounts similar experiences from the various people he has interviewed in the past, many of whom are high-profile entertainers and writers—e.g. Dick Cavett and Andy Richter, novelist John Green. The narrative unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, and the author relates his family’s long history with depression and substance abuse. His father was an alcoholic, and one of his brothers was a drug addict. Moe tracks how he came to recognize his own signs of depression while in middle school, as he experienced the travails of OCD and social anxiety. These early chapters alternate with brief thematic “According to THWoD” sections that expand on his experiences, providing relevant anecdotal stories from some of his podcast guests. In this early section of the book, the author sometimes rambles. Though his experiences as an adolescent are accessible, he provides too many long examples, overstating his message, and some of the humor feels forced. What may sound naturally breezy in his podcast interviews doesn’t always strike the same note on the written page. The narrative gains considerable momentum when Moe shifts into his adult years and the challenges of balancing family and career while also confronting the devastating loss of his brother from suicide. As he grieved, he writes, his depression caused him to experience “a salad of regret, anger, confusion, and horror.” Here, the author focuses more attention on the origins and evolution of his series, stories that prove compelling as well.

The book would have benefited from a tighter structure, but it’s inspiring and relatable for readers with depression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20928-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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