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

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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