This work chronicles an instructively detailed, albeit odd, journey through family court.




In Book 2 of this autobiographical series, a man attempts to reconcile with his adoptive daughter. 

In Book 1, which related a bizarre and entrenched skirmish with the juvenile court system, Cambridge (Denied! Failing Cordelia: Book One, 2014) explained his complex relationship with an adopted daughter he referred to as Cordelia. In this second installment, the author explores a number of legal battles in which his “overriding objective” was reunification with the teenage Cordelia. It is a war, the reader learns early on, that has already been lost. By the time of the volume’s publication, Cordelia was legally an adult, and the author could not see her due to a restraining order. Nevertheless, Cambridge has a great deal to say about what happened and waxes on subjects ranging from restraining orders to an imaginary speech he would like to hear read in court. Throughout these pages, the author sees himself largely as a victim of Shakespearean proportions, whether at the hands of a disinterested attorney or from flaws attributable to his own Asperger’s syndrome. Then there is Cambridge’s penchant for extended metaphors (for example, he discusses a legal procedure that “could make the Titanic seem agile in trying to avoid the iceberg that sank it”). Such attempts at engendering sympathy do not always succeed, particularly since Cordelia, regardless of her own mental health and emotional challenges, for the most part seems to not want a reconciliation. And while the author may not be the most relatable figure to pass through the legal process, his perspective is an undeniably singular one. As he asserts: “Having direct experience of both adopting a legally free child and then of fighting for her in a dependency case, I feel uniquely qualified to be able to speak directly to the joys of the former and the cruelty of the latter.” The book digs deeply into child-parent legalities, and, though the conclusion is foregone, Cambridge’s many struggles are informative. Diverse challenges, like the “two-stage process” of a Section 388 petition, are explained by someone who has lived through them. The book manages to incorporate practical issues (such as hiring an attorney versus using a public defender) into an inherently sad and strange overarching story.

This work chronicles an instructively detailed, albeit odd, journey through family court.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5144-8891-1

Page Count: 698

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

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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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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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