A fast-paced and appealingly personal self-help manual.




A debut book offers a “survival guide” to life.

The idea of “neuroplasticity” is at the heart of this pithy collection of tips: the importance of always learning from and mentally adapting to the surprises and setbacks that life inevitably throws in the way. The inborn nature of the readily available survival tools is key: The authors stress throughout that readers have the equipment they need to solve their own problems and remake their initial assumptions. “Just like you choose to landscape your property or your body hair, remove a stain from your favorite shirt, remodel your Harley, or purposely rip a pair of jeans to make them stylish,” the Therapy Twins write, “if you don’t like where you are you can change it!” They emphasize to readers that the mind is the steering wheel of the brain, and they underscore the pragmatic side of their advice-giving by weaving into the narrative snippets of their own personal lives and the lessons they’ve learned both from their own strengths and their own weaknesses. This is all done briskly and without sentimentality, since they likewise caution against carrying around negative memories like badges of honor. How can readers live in the present, they ask, if they’re letting their pasts govern their lives? “Take back your power and free yourself from the grips of the past,” they assert in a typically upbeat line. Indeed, this note of optimism is struck repeatedly in the book, with the authors reminding their readers to be kind to themselves and choose “some tip-top thoughts” to help them steer their reflections and possibly reshape their realities. As a result, they will become the drivers of their own stories instead of wounded and resentful recipients of personal narratives that only do harm. Although most of the maxims provided in these pages are simple (and sometimes trite) enough to be ubiquitous in the self-help genre, the clear and optimistic tone the authors maintain makes the book very approachable. And their personal tales greatly enhance what might otherwise have been a fairly lightweight assemblage of aphorisms.

A fast-paced and appealingly personal self-help manual.

Pub Date: July 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8229-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 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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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 eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


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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