A dramatic account of a controversial natural cancer treatment.

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WINNING THE WAR ON CANCER

THE EPIC JOURNEY TOWARDS A NATURAL CURE

A lawyer recounts her attempts to promote a natural cure for cancer in this debut medical memoir.

Beljanski’s parents, Mirko and Monique, were French cancer researchers who discovered two plant extracts with the power to eliminate cancerous stem cells while causing no harm to healthy cells. (If the stem cells are not killed, “the tumor will soon grow back.”) Although these findings were not widely known, the author’s parents had a highly successful treatment rate. Their most famous patient was none other than the long-serving French President François Mitterrand. But, according to Beljanski, the use of the extracts on Mitterrand exposed her parents to the ire of the French medical and political establishment: “Anything natural that works better than synthetic drugs is perceived as a frontal attack on the entire economy of pharmaceutical companies….The products, the man who conceived them, and all the know-how surrounding them must be destroyed.” Soldiers were dispatched to Mirko’s lab to arrest the couple and seize whatever research they could find. Across the sea in New York, Beljanski, an attorney who had never taken an active role in her parents’ work, became immediately drawn into the case, not simply to free them but to ensure that the people who had become reliant on the treatment they had engineered could continue to receive it. Following her father’s death in 1998, she created the Beljanski Foundation to promote and advance his research. The author has been trying to bring attention to the potentially cancer-obliterating powers of plant extracts ever since, though she has found that the medical establishment is no less powerful or self-interested today than it was when it sent those soldiers to Mirko’s lab. Beljanski writes in an energetic prose that lends much tension and drama to her narrative: “I hurried to open the door when I heard a knock, and if I was unnerved by the words spoken to me by Gérard the day before at the cemetery, it was nothing compared to what I felt when I opened the door.” Indeed, the great success of the book is as a nonfiction thriller, with the Beljanski research as a Holy Grail at the center. In this way, the volume is an entertaining read, particularly given the high stakes of the research and the ongoing destruction wrought by cancer. The idea that the cure might be found in something as simple as plant extracts is highly attractive, and those already interested in natural medicine should be sympathetic to the author’s cause. But it’s difficult to take Beljanski completely seriously given the conspiratorial bent of her narrative. (She all but alleges that the French government was attempting to draw out the investigation into her father for the purpose of exhausting and killing him: “When the defendant dies, the prosecutor no longer has to prove his case.”) There is also the indisputably promotional nature of the book to consider (the author is a conference speaker). It’s a compelling yarn nonetheless, and it does grant a window into the intriguing, competitive, and moneyed world of cancer research.

A dramatic account of a controversial natural cancer treatment.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68350-724-6

Page Count: 254

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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