Limp, literary porn for the soft-core set.

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MÉMOIRE SEXUEL

THE EROTIC DIARY OF A FRENCH GIRL IN SPAIN

Three steamy years in the life of an insatiable, pleasure-seeking Parisian Lolita.

Racking up at least four random sexual encounters on an average day, Tasso aims to achieve her “personal marathon” of 10,000 sexual conquests, scrupulously scribbled in diary entries that make up this “international bestseller”—all with her dear grandmother’s blessing. Ravaging men like a lioness and then hastily retreating, the author sleeps her way through tour guides, obese “pachyderm”-like men, cops and scores of others. Her best friend, Sonia, offers comic relief during Tasso’s downtime, but soon, the promiscuous author is sexing her way across Europe again, thanks to the travel perks afforded by her cushy advertising job. The dark, dangerous hills of Lima, Peru, France, Barcelona—all provide a fertile environment for the ravenous Tasso to carry on the countless, spontaneous erotic encounters that she never seems to regret. Her only “golden rule” is to remain detached from these anonymous trysts, to be enjoyed on a one-time-only basis: “A repeat session with a stranger doesn’t interest me. I prefer to pick up someone else in the street.” Ultimately, real life intervenes, stagnating much of the second half of Tasso’s formerly vigorous adventures. She gets laid off (from work, that is), her beloved grandmother dies and she has an abortion, all of which serve as sobering reality checks. Working as a freelance translator barely keeps the author afloat, though an attempt to score more permanent employment leads only to an extended melodramatic affair with Jaime, the cash-strapped compulsive liar who’d first interviewed her. Turning 30, desperate times force her to become a prostitute at a brothel, a job that provides easy money, though the demeaning, aggressive customers and a malicious “boss” eventually take their toll. And then love rescues the happy hooker. Amazingly, the worst physical malady Tasso contracts is gastroenteritis. Though written in deceptively dulcet tones, Tasso is a drama queen, and her initially titillating thrills are deflated by her many halfhearted theatrics.

Limp, literary porn for the soft-core set.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-56975-560-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Amorata/Ulysses

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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