RaveThe RumpusReading Boylan’s memoirs is like working on a three-dimensional puzzle that mysteriously creates space for more pieces. Each of Boylan’s memoirs, complete unto itself, yields insight into the author and those closest to her, and Good Boy is as affecting and funny as anything Boylan has ever written ... Boylan has mastered the art of setting scenes ... the dogs...possess a purpose beyond amusing and delighting us. Clearly, they embody human qualities.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksPhelps-Roper provides a vivid sense of what it felt like to be a child in this unusual family ... increasingly, as she developed her own sense of right and wrong, submission became less tolerable. The author does a particularly nice job charting this growing tension ... One might approach this book wondering how a group such as Westboro can exist in 21st-century America. What feels remarkable, after reading Phelps-Roper’s story, is that she was able to leave at all.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksScorah is particularly adept at showing the crosscurrents at work inside her younger self ... With perception and humor, Scorah describes the bizarre life of missionaries preaching in a country where their religion was banned ... In an era when so many of us are locked into ideological silos, [this book] offer[s] insights into what makes a person susceptible to change.
Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"[Hindman\'s] memoir is original, funny, and deeply moving. It’s also perplexing. What caused Hindman, a young woman with obvious drive and intelligence, to settle for this farce of a career? ... Hindman offers a harrowing account of a young woman whose ambition slowly gives way to desperation ... Hindman is never fully forthcoming about what attracted her to the work, or what allowed her, finally, to choose a new path. Throughout the book, she makes penetrating observations about the people around her — angst-ridden high school girls, smug college students, even her colleagues in the ensemble. And she frequently writes of her young self with raw, searing honesty — even when, as shown from the quotations above, she persistently couches her self-analysis in the second person. Yet her small, but critical, omissions weaken what is otherwise a brave and captivating memoir.\
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe book is a reminder of something that most of us know, but often neglect to heed: that if we want to encourage someone to think in new ways, genuine, prolonged engagement is infinitely more effective than simply excluding them or ranting against their beliefs ... Saslow, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the Washington Post, researched his subjects thoroughly ... It’s no surprise that he depicts Derek with empathy. The more challenging task is to create a nuanced, compassionate portrayal of a committed white supremacist like Derek’s father ... Why are some people open to change when their core beliefs are challenged, while others dig in their heels and retrench? One person’s story can’t give us the answer. But it’s a good question to keep asking.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of Books blogBranch...spent more than three years getting to know this unusual clan. The result is a work that’s rich in detail and which consistently rings true. And he writes in a fashion that’s not dissimilar from how these cowboys live: clearly, boldly, and unambiguously, the sharp edges softened with understated humor and pithy observations ... Branch captures not just the thrill of bronc riding, but its absolute unpredictability ... Branch has given us a real-life story that’s not only compelling, but oddly reassuring.