WHERE WE BELONG by Hoda Kotb

WHERE WE BELONG

Journeys that Show Us the Way
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Today show fourth hour co-anchor and Dateline NBC correspondent offers encouragement to those who are unfulfilled with their lives to break through the "gray clouds of frustration and worry" and "create a life that’s both fun and rewarding."

In her third book, Kotb (Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives, 2014, etc.) recounts her interviews with men and women who honored their life's callings despite formidable obstacles. She shuns an overly flattering tone and relates her stories in a plain, straightforward style (unfortunately, several passages read like dry Wikipedia entries). The author comprehensively details her subjects’ life events and accomplishments. After an introduction (each story “will identify the guideposts that led to a place of peace and fulfillment”), the author begins with a deeply moving account of a girl's triumph over poverty and a fractured family life to her acceptance to Harvard Medical School, a journey that showcased her superhuman resilience and resourcefulness. Another, about a socialite couple who sponsored a nonprofit foundation in Haiti to place orphans with adoptive parents, is Kotb's best example of two dissatisfied people who conquered great trepidation and found their passion by surprise. Some chapters start strong—e.g., the heiress-turned–sustainable living advocate, and the Wall Street one-percenter–turned-minister—but then get bogged down by their length. By contrast, the celebrity profiles—including Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey and boxer Laila Ali—are far too brief and inconsequential. Oddly, Kotb's profile of comedian and activist Margaret Cho doesn't feature any of her jokes or trademark candor. This brief, gift-style book contains some gems, but others are seemingly thrown together and make readers impatient for the payoff.

Occasionally inspiring but fatally uneven.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4767-5242-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015




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