The literary equivalent of an NFL pregame show: obnoxious, frequently incoherent and only engaging when it actually focuses...

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SAPP ATTACK

A former All-Pro defensive lineman with a mouth as big as his massive frame dishes on life in the NFL trenches and various controversies that dogged his career.

One of the greatest defensive players of his era, Sapp helped transform the perpetually pathetic Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Super Bowl champions. He was also one of the game’s harder hitters, biggest talkers and more controversial figures. With assistance from Fisher, Sapp chronicles his poor upbringing in Apopka, Fla.; his starring role on a University of Miami team that included future NFL legend Ray Lewis and wrestling icon Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; and his 13 seasons in the NFL. Unfortunately, his inimitable style can best be characterized as self-aggrandizing and far less hilarious than the author thinks it is. While he manages to share a few interesting insider stories—among them insight into the fines that teams hand out to offensive linemen caught loafing after an interception—there’s little doubt that the spotlight will focus on Sapp’s contention that Miami alumni, including Michael Irvin and Jim Kelly, contributed to a pool of money that was doled out to college players for making big plays. He downplays the incident, but his intimation that Irvin and others contributed up to $5,000 to the pot is sure to generate headlines. Elsewhere, Sapp attempts to explain the circumstances around failed drug tests and his arrest on domestic abuse charges—incidents, he contends, greatly exaggerated by a misinformed media—while failing to address—as a member of the media—his own apparently erroneous labeling of Jeremy Shockey as the “snitch” who blew the whistle on the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program.

The literary equivalent of an NFL pregame show: obnoxious, frequently incoherent and only engaging when it actually focuses on the game.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00438-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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