An immersive and well-told account of a father and his legacy.

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THE RESTLESS HUNGARIAN

MODERNISM, MADNESS, AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

In this debut book, a writer shares the story of his father, an innovative structural engineer.

Weidlinger remembers his father, the Hungarian-born Paul, as full of amazing tales: of being arrested and sentenced to death at the age of 18; of becoming an apprentice of Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy and pioneering modernist architect Le Corbusier; of striving to “protect the world” from a nuclear war. Even so, there was much mystery surrounding Paul, who spoke seven languages and had worked on three continents. For example, Weidlinger did not discover that his father was Jewish until he was an adult and found Paul’s will (in which, it so happens, the author was not mentioned). It wasn’t until Paul died in 1999 and Weidlinger inherited a box of his papers that he was finally able to dig deeper into the life of the man. “It was clear that it was in those documents,” writes the author in his introduction, “in the languages I could not understand, that I would most likely find the evidence to prove or disprove his fantastic tales.” A portrait emerges of a Holocaust survivor who, through a series of remarkable encounters, was able to collaborate with some of the greatest artists of the 20th century and help change the way that people thought about architectural design. It is also the story of a man surrounded by tragedy, from the deaths of family members in World War II to the institutionalization of his wife for paranoid schizophrenia. Weidlinger writes with energy and compassion, even about topics that are understandably close to him, as here, when he discusses his father’s influence on his mother’s breakdown: “There are too many unknown factors and, if he did drive her mad, he did not do it with intent but rather with his own fear of her despair at seeing the ‘sharpest relations of things,’ things that were too dark for open conversation.” The book, which features family and architectural photographs, relates a captivating tale, with Paul simultaneously an archetypical European genius and a highly idiosyncratic figure. Fans of architecture will be particularly intrigued, but it is more broadly a story of the visionary upheavals of the 20th century.

An immersive and well-told account of a father and his legacy.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943006-96-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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

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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