A real-life golf fantasy year, boldly lived and exuberantly told.



A golfer’s unabashed love letter to one of the world’s most spectacular courses.

With the possible exception of Augusta National, home of The Masters, no American golf course is as respected and beloved as Pebble Beach. Located near Carmel-on-the-Sea on California’s breathtaking Monterey Peninsula, Pebble’s ingenious layout and glorious vistas have permeated the consciousness even of the non-golfing public thanks to TV coverage stretching back to the old Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, which featured the then-novel spectacle of professionals teeing it up alongside celebrities like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon and Sean Connery. Confessing to at least a mild case of midlife angst and taking a sabbatical from his professorship, Jack (English/North Central Coll.; What Cheer: A Love Story, 2010, etc.) resolved to spend a year immersed in the honeyed, moneyed milieu of Carmel covering four tournaments: the Wal-Mart First Tee Open, the Calloway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational, the AT&T Pro-Am and the 2010 U.S. Open, hosted by Pebble for a record fifth time. The author dutifully reports the progress and outcomes of each of these tournaments, but his real subjects are the history and idiosyncrasies of Carmel and the course itself, whose fabled difficulty and mystical charm have made it a golfing mecca. On pilgrimage, Jack played the course—for a whopping $500, Pebble is the rare U.S. Open course accessible to the public—and interviewed a wide variety of pros, golf teachers, writers, celebrities, business titans and longtime Carmel residents. He charts his frequently amusing efforts to negotiate on the cheap one of the world’s most expensive environments. Too often he affects an annoying, hipsterish tone, but he can turn a memorable phrase—he defines a caddy as “the quintessential wingman”—and occasionally supply arresting insight. After interviewing the course superintendent, he notes that “taking care of a masterpiece would be the most perfect kind of hell.” In the end, any sins are forgiven because of Jack’s refusal to take himself too seriously and because of the allowances we customarily make for someone who’s so obviously in love.

A real-life golf fantasy year, boldly lived and exuberantly told.

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8032-3357-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


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

Did you like this book?

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?