THE MESSY JOYS OF BEING HUMAN by Helen Rosenau

THE MESSY JOYS OF BEING HUMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wide-ranging motivational guide urges readers to embrace change in order to grow.

Rosenau opens her nonfiction debut with clear intent: Her book is for people who feel trapped in counterproductive routines and want to get “unstuck” from patterns of behavior that no longer (and perhaps never did) satisfy them. Sometimes, she observes, people get ensnared in how they see their own stories and how they view themselves in those narratives. “Doing that,” she writes, “can end up creating entrenched patterns that limit the ways we interact and the possibilities we strive to manifest.” In a series of fast-paced chapters that are written in an enormously engaging voice, the author attempts to look deep into the souls of her readers, seeking to know their real selves—how, as the old saying goes, they treat stray dogs and shopping carts. She professes to want to concentrate on how people deal with sorrow and joy, how they respond to the happiness of their friends even when they are in low spirits. “We’re all a little bit light,” Rosenau writes. “But we’re also murky.” She wishes to empower her readers to seize this dichotomy and begin a personal transformation that will be at various times fun and a tough slog. The author mixes her motivational insights with personal anecdotes and a heavy sprinkling of concepts from Jewish culture like yetzer hatov, an inclination toward the good (or bad, in the case of yetzer hara). But the book’s strongest running thread is its rich and warmhearted human empathy. “Understanding why we’re suffering doesn’t make it any easier or make what’s hurting hurt any less,” Rosenau reminds her readers while reassuring them: “You will have a solid sense of trust in yourself and your decision-making. You will feel your Yes in every part of you: body, mind and soul.” Readers feeling a lack of that self-trust will find a great burst of Yes in these pages.

A wise and uplifting manual of encouragement for readers seeking to take stock of their lives and shelve their bad habits.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-73253-375-2
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Riverview Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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