A fourth mind is really put off by how braggy she sounds, even when said mind gets the underlying message (I’m going to drop the ‘mind’ gag now because my fifth mind is on break). Like, early in the book she’s implying that you should never let obstacles stand in the way of your dreams (message received), but she conveys this by saying she doesn’t know why everyone tells burgeoning writers how difficult it is to get published and how likely they are to fail, when ‘[t]he year that I decided to become a writer, I sent unsolicited article ideas to three national magazines. I ended up being published in all three, and one…immediately offered me a monthly nutrition column.’ The reason everyone tells writers that they’re likely to fail is that this will not happen to them, this three-article business, and they will fail, and if they are not prepared to fail, they may quit (or drown themselves in drink [or the river]) rather than pick their asses up and try again. This all sounds really sour-grapey on my part, but I was mostly just so grated by this early bit that it colored how I read the rest of the book.*
Said rest of book is a stew of hits and misses. Really stirring call to carve out time for your dreams; wump-wump chapter about taking care of you. Very good advice about the people you hang out with; chapter about health guest-written by Captain Obvious (don’t eat eighty cookies, guys).
Part of the problem is, I think, phenomenal cosmic topics; itty-bitty living space. There are Drood-sized books written on healthy living and on relationships, so her comments skim at best and they aren’t her strongest chapters by a long shot. She should have binned the whole ‘seven steps’ schtick and just written about following your dreams (or asking them where they’re going, and catching up with them later), since that is by and large her strongest area.
Because come on, the woman has followed some dreams. She was a medical resident, which represents an enormous investment of time, money and other people’s expectations, and then chucked the whole lot to take up writing and profesional flamenco dancing. This. takes. balls. Do you hear me, Dr Biali? I am giving you due credit for your balls. Also, you are probably very good at flamenco dancing, and you either have great skin or a great airbrusher. And some of the stuff you have to say about formulating the kind of life that will help you both hunt down and snare your dreams, it carries the ring of truth.
Not an altogether horrible book, and there are some good nuggets if you dig. But if you can’t live the life you love (sing with me), love the life you live! Love the life you live!
Thanks to Lisa the Online Publicist, who send me a copy of this and who clearly did not pay me for this review, or to say that she is seriously great. Which she is.
*Ok, this off-putting thing? Maybe it’s just me. But the book is riddled with things like ‘I found that it wasn’t enough to just help one person at a time. I want to help millions of people improve their quality of life’ as though Mother Theresa never said that thing about doing small things with great love, or as though everyone who was helping one person was wasting their time. Or (re: relationships), ‘People would ask…”What’s someone like her doing with someone like him,” which I think she meant as a slam at the types of guys she dated, but comes across more as ‘I’M AWESOME!’ Or talking about how hard it is for her, a doctor and nutritionist, to eat healthy, and she can ‘only imagine’ how hard it is for us, the unwashed masses (my words, but they are strongly implied). And I realize that this footnote is REALLY long and angsty, but an author’s tone is hugely important in a book like this, and while I doubt she’s as arrogant as she sounds, she sounds REALLY ARROGANT. So.