A must-read for disabled readers seeking inspiration for their dreams, and will hold the interest—and crush the excuses—of...

IN A SINGLE BOUND

LOSING MY LEG, FINDING MYSELF, AND TRAINING FOR LIFE

The impressive story of a woman who will eventually be duly recognized as a pioneer in disabled athletics.

Reinertsen, whom readers may recognize from her 2006 appearance on The Amazing Race, was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency in her left leg—“a shortened leg bone that’ll never grow.” At age seven, she had part of it amputated so she could use a prosthetic that provided greater mobility. The author—assisted by veteran ghostwriter Goldsher (co-author: Dancing to the Music in My Head: Memoirs of the People’s Idol, 2009, etc.)—credits much of her success to the insistence of her parents, both from Norwegian immigrant families, on treating her like a normal kid. Throughout, her mother is depicted as an endless source of support. Although her father’s abuse and extramarital affair kept the family in therapy for nearly a decade, he provided a modicum of assistance by seeking out Reinertsen’s eventual role model, amputee marathoner Paddy Rossbach, at a race near their home in Long Island. Twelve-year-old Reinertsen marveled at Rossbach’s grace and speed, and saw that a “normal,” fulfilled life was possible for amputees. The author similarly inspires readers with her story, if one can consider her extraordinary experiences normal: world records for above-knee amputee women in the 100- and 200-meter races, the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, multiple academic degrees, the Ironman in Hawaii (she was the first woman to complete it on an artificial leg), interviewing Olympic stars in one of several TV-production gigs and climbing the Great Wall of China on a hit reality show. Though the compelling content occasionally descends into the clichéd prose of many commercial inspirational memoirs—with lazy adjectives like “insane amped-ness” and “moving/amazing/incredible”—Reinertsen’s vulnerability and ebullience have a way of sneaking through in passages about intimacy with her first boyfriend (when should she take the leg off?) and how her emotional Ironman triumph helped heal her family.

A must-read for disabled readers seeking inspiration for their dreams, and will hold the interest—and crush the excuses—of those training for marathons and triathlons.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7627-5143-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Globe Pequot

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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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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