An intimate, funny, painfully perceptive self-portrait that’s bloody good, mate.

Need Big Love - Need It Now

In this lively, candid memoir, an avid traveler and 30-something Aussie at first wants to find a man to love, later a woman instead, but ultimately wants to discover herself.

In her debut book, blogger Jackson appears to love drama, which is good, because her life is rich in it. She is most entertaining as she describes her many escapades, desires and disappointments. As a young girl, she wanted a love that was “silk and sky and sophisticated kindness,” but the Australian singer/social worker wasn’t finding it in her homeland. So the self-described “cheeky little red headed chubster” set her “love compass” toward the Americas for what she hoped would be a five-month passionate sabbatical. She flew from Brisbane to LA before arriving “smack bang in the middle of Brooklyn,” where she lived for two weeks on a Home Stay program as she explored “a haughtily glamorous Manhattan.” When she later joined a travel group that went to various must-see destinations, Jackson had a series of unrequited crushes on her tour guides—first the male ones, then on “girl-next door” Hannah. Jackson, who previously had relations with guys, struggled with her feelings for Hannah and with the idea of “coming out.” Hannah, however, was straight, so nothing ensued. Once home in Australia, Jackson quickly felt the need to travel again, this time to Asia. On that trip, she became besotted with a German traveler named Astrid. A friend told Jackson that her personal slogan should be “NEED BIG LOVE, NEED IT NOW!” and she desperately wanted that love with Astrid, who failed to reciprocate because, like Hannah, she too was straight. Jackson continued traveling to faraway places and having unsuccessful love relationships. Like her life, the memoir gets repetitive: travel, yearn for the wrong person, repeat. Eventually, her “thoughts zeroed in on one thing—a baby.” But multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization failed. She then found some pleasure through painting and mindfulness meditation. Ultimately, she says the “love that I was always seeking had to be found in me first. It was never out there.”

An intimate, funny, painfully perceptive self-portrait that’s bloody good, mate.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1502731531

Page Count: 216

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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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