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THIS ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE

THE PATH BACK TO CONNECTION IN A FRACTURED WORLD

One for the fans.

An earnest pastiche of political theorizing, travel memoir, and environmental exhortation that attempts to encourage readers to act constructively in an increasingly disconnected world.

The former editor of Cosmopolitan Australia and author of I Quit Sugar and its many sequels confronts the “itch” she feels as a result of a world beset by climate change, Covid-19, and the consequences of neoliberalism. She has made a good faith effort to integrate the changes wrought on the world by the coronavirus into a book ready for publication before the pandemic hit. No one could accuse her of inadequate research: Almost every page is peppered with quotations, statistics, and factoids, often set in the margins. While there are no sources included in the book, the author notes links to some on her website. Many others—such as Wilson's assertion that “many famous artists, writers and creatives walk to cure bipolar and constipation, or, more often than not, both (because they often travel together)”—are not readily verifiable and may take further digging by readers. The text comprises 136 miniature chapters, interwoven with frustratingly brief descriptions of hikes the author has taken in various sites in the world. Summaries of snippets of scientific research alternate with pages of advice on living a minimalist life as well as chapters about the author's personal journey, with emphasis on a trip to Crete when she was in her mid-40s to attempt a pregnancy by way of in vitro fertilization using the sperm of a 21-year-old Danish poetry student. Some of Wilson's advice is suspect: She advocates hitchhiking as well as hiking without water or a map. Her suggestions regarding frugality are sometimes excessive, as when she notes how she “started collecting butter scraps at cafes” in addition to fish bones and carcasses to make bone broth. Loosely structured at best, the disjointed narrative jumps from topic to topic every page or two, which will leave many readers adrift.

One for the fans.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296297-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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GRIEF IS FOR PEOPLE

A marvelously tender memoir on suicide and loss.

An essayist and novelist turns her attention to the heartache of a friend’s suicide.

Crosley’s memoir is not only a joy to read, but also a respectful and philosophical work about a colleague’s recent suicide. “All burglaries are alike, but every burglary is uninsured in its own way,” she begins, in reference to the thief who stole the jewelry from her New York apartment in 2019. Among the stolen items was her grandmother’s “green dome cocktail ring with tiers of tourmaline (think kryptonite, think dish soap).” She wrote those words two months after the burglary and “one month since the violent death of my dearest friend.” That friend was Russell Perreault, referred to only by his first name, her boss when she was a publicist at Vintage Books. Russell, who loved “cheap trinkets” from flea markets, had “the timeless charm of a movie star, the competitive edge of a Spartan,” and—one of many marvelous details—a “thatch of salt-and-pepper hair, seemingly scalped from the roof of an English country house.” Over the years, the two became more than boss and subordinate, teasing one another at work, sharing dinners, enjoying “idyllic scenes” at his Connecticut country home, “a modest farmhouse with peeling paint and fragile plumbing…the house that Windex forgot.” It was in the barn at that house that Russell took his own life. Despite the obvious difference in the severity of robbery and suicide, Crosley fashions a sharp narrative that finds commonality in the dislocation brought on by these events. The book is no hagiography—she notes harassment complaints against Russell for thoughtlessly tossed-off comments, plus critiques of the “deeply antiquated and often backward” publishing industry—but the result is a warm remembrance sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced loss.

A marvelously tender memoir on suicide and loss.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780374609849

Page Count: 208

Publisher: MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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CALL ME ANNE

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

The late actor offers a gentle guide for living with more purpose, love, and joy.

Mixing poetry, prescriptive challenges, and elements of memoir, Heche (1969-2022) delivers a narrative that is more encouraging workbook than life story. The author wants to share what she has discovered over the course of a life filled with abuse, advocacy, and uncanny turning points. Her greatest discovery? Love. “Open yourself up to love and transform kindness from a feeling you extend to those around you to actions that you perform for them,” she writes. “Only by caring can we open ourselves up to the universe, and only by opening up to the universe can we fully experience all the wonders that it holds, the greatest of which is love.” Throughout the occasionally overwrought text, Heche is heavy on the concept of care. She wants us to experience joy as she does, and she provides a road map for how to get there. Instead of slinking away from Hollywood and the ridicule that she endured there, Heche found the good and hung on, with Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford starring as particularly shining knights in her story. Some readers may dismiss this material as vapid Hollywood stuff, but Heche’s perspective is an empathetic blend of Buddhism (minimize suffering), dialectical behavioral therapy (tolerating distress), Christianity (do unto others), and pre-Socratic philosophy (sufficient reason). “You’re not out to change the whole world, but to increase the levels of love and kindness in the world, drop by drop,” she writes. “Over time, these actions wear away the coldness, hate, and indifference around us as surely as water slowly wearing away stone.” Readers grieving her loss will take solace knowing that she lived her love-filled life on her own terms. Heche’s business and podcast partner, Heather Duffy, writes the epilogue, closing the book on a life well lived.

A sweet final word from an actor who leaves a legacy of compassion and kindness.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781627783316

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viva Editions

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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