An inspirational story of losing pride, embracing humanity and accepting love.

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A PEARL IN THE STORM

HOW I FOUND MY HEART IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN

One woman’s rebellion against powerlessness places her in perhaps the most powerless situation of all—crossing the Atlantic Ocean alone in a 23-foot rowboat.

McClure’s unique debut memoir unravels, true to its setting, in a series of currents and waves. At various speeds and intensities, she reveals her life-or-death battle against the ocean, her inner demons and the motives behind her journey. Growing up a self-proclaimed misfit, she was haunted by guilt over being unable to protect her developmentally handicapped brother from the world’s cruelty. Her attempts to do so produced a strong, solitary, athletic young woman, but her inability to completely shield him solidified her feeling of impotence. That feeling remained with her throughout her life, even as she worked to help the homeless, the disabled and the terminally ill. She cared fiercely about humanity but was emotionally isolated and blamed herself for failing to save the world. Driven to overcome this self-perceived weakness, 35-year-old McClure departed from the coast of North Carolina in 1998, planning to row the 3,600 miles to France. Isolated at sea for 91 days, battling three hurricanes and a loss of all communication while cherishing the beauty and bliss of the sea, she fluctuated between accepting and challenging nature. A stirring metaphor for life’s unpredictable ups and downs, McClure’s real-life journey was both propelled and hindered by the ever-transitory ocean currents. When the North Atlantic’s worst recorded hurricane season forced her to request rescue at sea, she felt like a failure. Returning home depressed and unable to merge her now-divided self, she stumbled for the first time upon love—and a new plan to conquer the sea. On that voyage, yet another hurricane brought her crashing to her knees, but this time she learned to embrace her demons and forgive herself. Nearly ten years after the conclusion of her groundbreaking journey, McClure offers her reflections in contemplative, honest language, revealing her meaningful road to self-discovery.

An inspirational story of losing pride, embracing humanity and accepting love.

Pub Date: April 7, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-171886-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Collins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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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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