An unconventional and ultimately uplifting call to reclaim your own life story.

WRITE YOURSELF INTO YOUR DREAMS

WITH THE ESSENTIAL LIFE STORY METHOD

A debut guide advocates self-improvement through autobiographical exercises.

Wade presents to her readers what she labels the Essential Life Story Method of transforming how they view their pasts and reshaping how they live in the future. The ELS Method, she asserts, will allow you to open “a window into your soul.” Going through that window “will uncover the blueprint of your own psychology and change that blueprint in ways that will immediately improve how you think, feel, and behave.” The ELS Method revolves around a deceptively simple core exercise: writing a brief (only five pages to start) autobiographical sketch. Take a pen, some paper, a private space, and then ponder and write your life story, at first in broad outline and then in increasing detail. In clear and very encouraging prose, Wade notes a handful of “best practices,” including write first by hand and transcribe to a computer later, read each chapter twice, and get feedback. These practices are intended to guide ELS participants as they expand their autobiographical drafts. Those expansions are likewise delineated, step by step, portion by portion. Readers are given a helpful series of writing prompts like: “What positive qualities, habits, and/or patterns do you admire in your mom? Which of these could you benefit from emulating more strongly?” The personal drift of such upbeat questions points to the ELS Method’s inner purpose, which is to use autobiographical exercises to take control of your own personal narrative. “The energy of your story radiates outward,” Wade writes, “producing a field around you that attracts everything that matches your story’s frequency and repels everything that doesn’t—good or bad.” The author deftly emphasizes that although ELS participants can’t change the past, they can reframe it—and that this can all happen through the power of storytelling. It’s a basic and thrilling claim, one that will cause readers at all stages of writing expertise to seriously consider putting their own stories down on paper.

An unconventional and ultimately uplifting call to reclaim your own life story.

Pub Date: March 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9708809-0-1

Page Count: 220

Publisher: TEA HOUSE PRESS

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

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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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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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