Welles rightly imagined that people would never stop writing about him after he died. Callow continues to set the standard...

READ REVIEW

ORSON WELLES, VOLUME 3

ONE-MAN BAND

Juicy, provocative latest installment in the comprehensive life of a self-destructive genius.

In his first two volumes of the life of Orson Welles (1915-1985), actor and author Callow captured the scope of a life that always seemed to promise more than it delivered. In The Road to Xanadu (1996), Welles was the boy genius whose Midas touch literally transformed theater, radio, and then film, reaching the pinnacle of his life at the age of 25 with Citizen Kane. In Hello, Americans (2007), Callow charted the way down, exploring how Welles’ sprawling ambitions ran up against both studio interference and his own restless inability to see projects through to the end. During the period recounted here (1947-1964), Welles fell into the pattern of his adult life: constantly trying to get a new play or film off the ground and taking acting jobs to help finance them. The results were ridiculously mixed, with success and failure jostling each other from year to year. Welles made quirky box-office duds (Othello, Mr. Arkadin), staged an ambitious version of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, and got fired by Laurence Olivier. He also made a classic film noir, Touch of Evil, and a long-gestating masterpiece, Chimes at Midnight. Welles thought of himself as Falstaff, but he seemed a good deal closer to King Lear: a royal in exile, howling at the winds as well as actors, crew members, studio heads, and anyone who crossed him. He was, also, a paradox to the critical establishment: a failure to his countrymen, a hero to the Cahiers du Cinéma crowd. Callow, with his own extensive theatrical background, remains Welles’ most astute observer, with an unerring sense of both his subject’s brilliance as a visual artist and the comparable limitations of his (often hammy) performances.

Welles rightly imagined that people would never stop writing about him after he died. Callow continues to set the standard in this increasingly crowded field.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-02491-9

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

more