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Angry Bitch! Who Are You? I Love You.

A MOTHER'S JOURNEY FROM SHAME TO HAPPINESS

A highly personal narrative that nevertheless showcases the universal value of self-discovery.

A certified integrative coach shares how embracing all aspects of herself led to greater overall well-being in this debut memoir and self-improvement guide.

Mahaini, a Danish native now living with her husband and children in Dubai, was feeling ashamed about being an “angry bitch” while dealing with the demands of being a wife and mother. Such incidents finally led her to undergo training at the Ford Institute, which helped her to fully recognize and thus take responsibility for this pattern of behavior, which had been present throughout her life. She details how she had imposed a lot of pressure on herself while earning a Ph.D. in pharmacology at a university in Australia, for example, and had less-than-satisfactory relationships with men that “came partly from my biological father’s not having much contact with me when I was a child, which in a child’s interpretation meant that I was unworthy.” Mahaini notes that she is better at handling her life now, including making sure that she allots time for such activities as coaching work and writing this book. She believes this greater sense of happiness is due to her having “learned to absolutely love and adore my angry part, for showing me the way.” She now can also heal herself “so the anger doesn’t burst forth so frequently. I can listen to my needs much more carefully, so it doesn’t have to erupt to get my attention.” The author offers an engaging exploration of the “inner work,” as she terms it, required to transform one’s life. Many readers, particularly mothers, should connect to her challenges of being a caretaker of young children, particularly the difficulty yet also necessity of carving out personal time that will actually help alleviate these stresses. At times, however, Mahaini’s musings, such as her angst while at a “very nice beachside hotel in Oman,” come off like “first-world problems” rather than relatable crises. And more details on the tools of integrative coaching, which clearly benefited her, would have been welcome.

A highly personal narrative that nevertheless showcases the universal value of self-discovery.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4525-1821-3

Page Count: 172

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2016

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MASTERY

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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