A concise memoir about salvation that Christian readers will find approachable and affirming.

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MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN

A memoir of one man’s journey to be closer to God.

In his debut, Lane discusses the events that led to his being “saved” and its positive effect on his life and his family. As a child in Nebraska, Terry writes, he participated in church but was never fully involved: “I never felt any spark from God or the pastor about his teaching or the way it was presented….I felt like I was in a wilderness with no guidance.” However, he does recall some wondrous signs early on, such as a vision of praying hands in the clouds, which foretold the important role that faith would play in his adult life. His family eventually moved to California, and he went on to meet his wife, JoAnn, in college at Fresno State. They took jobs and raised children but never found themselves drawn to the church until their young son urged them to do so. Soon after, they both experienced terrible dreamlike visions of a beast in their home, and Lane called on God in a way he never had before: “I learned in an instant of salvation how to also rebuke the Devil at the same time,” he writes. Lane was “saved,” he says, at the age of 34, and the rest of his memoir revolves around his witnessing to others and recounting times when he believes God directly intervened on his behalf. Lane never delves into theology, or his own emotions, very deeply or seriously, which leaves this short book feeling a bit light. However, the excitement he feels for his faith shines through in his straightforward prose. When describing a near-fatal childhood encounter with a moving truck, for example, he mixes humor and a verse about guardian angels: “ ‘[T]hey will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Or get run over by a big diesel truck!” Throughout the text, Lane seems to be constantly in awe of what he sees as God’s impact on his life, and his playful, charming tone makes his amazement personable and entertaining.

A concise memoir about salvation that Christian readers will find approachable and affirming.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490822549

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2014

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

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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

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