A quick, passionate primer on suicide and the optimistic thoughts needed to counter it.

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THINK HOPE LIVE

A comprehensive handbook on the subject of suicide.

Leippi (Road Tripping from Alaska to New York City, 2018, etc.) begins her slim nonfiction book with some of the many staggering, sobering statistics about suicide. Worldwide, there's a death by suicide roughly once every 40 seconds—850,000 fatalities each year, according to a World Health Organization statistic quoted here. In the United States alone, an average of 42,000 people die of suicide every year—roughly 117 every day. And as Leippi stresses at several points in the book, the potential threat of suicide lurks in the lives of everyone. A series of unlucky breaks, an impending prison sentence, a latent tendency for deep depression…virtually any person can begin to have suicidal thoughts if put under enough stress. Leippi’s short, straightforward book aims to circumvent the societal stigma of the subject and offer practical advice and encouragement on a wide range of suicide-related topics, advice aimed at both readers who may be suicidal and at their friends, employers, and loved ones. Although the author’s attempts to leaven the solemnity of the subject fall flat (the book contains fun recipes and an odd insistence on covering your mouth when you cough), the book derives a great deal of power from a series of profiles of people who’ve dealt with suicide in some capacity or other. These ministories are arresting and do a great deal to bring home Leippi’s larger points: At some point, virtually anyone can find themselves thinking suicidal thoughts, and hope is always possible—and preferable to despair. The author smoothly weaves her own story throughout the narrative; readers connected to suicide in any way will find much of interest here, including a list of suicide-prevention hotlines.

A quick, passionate primer on suicide and the optimistic thoughts needed to counter it.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8968-6

Page Count: 108

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2018

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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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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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