An incredibly inspiring and enterprising story of a mother’s tireless endeavor to cure the ailment plaguing her daughter and...

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THE POWER OF RARE

A BLUEPRINT FOR A MEDICAL REVOLUTION

A cosmetic company mogul, philanthropist, and recent inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame recounts how a rare disease and the fight for a cure galvanized her family.

Jackson (Saving Each Other, 2012) shares her motivating story of heartbreak and healing and her collaborative work and personal determination in the face of adversity. The devoted mother of three describes the “nightmare scenario” that suddenly consumed her entire family: her teenage daughter Ali’s painful onset and diagnosis of a rare autoimmune disorder called neuromyelitis optica. This inflammatory and potentially life-threatening condition attacked Ali’s optic nerve, and doctors began aggressive immunosuppressant treatments. Jackson writes clearly and passionately about the “real-life crash course” she embarked on to ignite her survival instinct and spur self-education on the nature of human autoimmunity. As she’d done in cultivating her cosmetic empire, Jackson “followed the guidance of my own intuition to create change” and spearheaded a charitable foundation grounded in the development of a cure for NMO. Working together with pioneers of immune health, Jackson and her husband, Bill Guthy, began discussing how the ailment could be rethought, scrutinized through research and a global clinical consortium, a curative plan blueprinted, and the disease eradicated. Her stirring chronicle (written with Yeaman, a professor of medicine) deftly describes how she and her integrated group of clinicians, researchers, healers, and philanthropists strategized to make headway in understanding (and, in turn, teaching others through multimedia platforms) new and alternative pathways in the treatment of NMO and to cross-educate medical communities worldwide. This ambitious game plan, of course, was no easy task, even when the research grants were funded and the drive to succeed was evident. In her detailed and engrossing account, Jackson tallies up the numerous hurdles her foundation scaled (and continues to confront today) and ends up pleased to report that headway is being made toward effectively “turning science into medicine.” In each chapter, the author provides useful blue-font life lessons learned from the events in that section. While some idioms may read like heartfelt needlepoint wisdom, to those in the throes of a desperate medical crisis or a seemingly hopeless family emergency, Jackson’s encouraging words should be timeless reminders to stay strong and optimistic in the face of tragedy.

An incredibly inspiring and enterprising story of a mother’s tireless endeavor to cure the ailment plaguing her daughter and others across the globe.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-92899-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: villabella press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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  • 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

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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