An award-winning television journalist muses on how to successfully negotiate the challenges of living in the modern world.
Shriver (Just Who Will You Be?, 2008, etc.) grew up a member of the storied Kennedy family. Despite great privilege, however, she has continually struggled with defining what constitutes a “meaningful life,” especially in an age when we are all “inundated with news and information about how terrible everything is.” This collection, which emerged from the author’s “I’ve Been Thinking” column in her digital newsletter, The Sunday Paper, provides a series of short meditations on everything from the power of gratitude and positive thinking to the blessings of love and family. Each piece begins with quotations from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, and Gandhi and ends with personal prayers that reflect Shriver’s deep devotion to her faith. The author begins with observations on the need for cultivating self-acceptance and “intestinal fortitude” to withstand a world that has become increasingly hostile and “unsteady.” As she celebrates female empowerment, she also remarks on the need for people—and women in particular—to care for their physical, mental, and spiritual health, now more than ever. In speaking of the work she has done in her life as a journalist and advocate for Alzheimer’s education, Shriver notes that motherhood, “the biggest, most powerful, most all-encompassing job on the planet,” has been her greatest challenge. Her four children have been bearers of important lessons in “patience, kindness, and acceptance” as well as the most difficult but necessary lesson of all: letting go. What partially saves this well-intentioned book from reading like a series of trite platitudes is Shriver’s underlying understanding of current events. Beyond positive thinking, what we all need are “leaders who bring us together” and citizens who can “listen with open minds…to find a common thread.”
A heartfelt but unexceptional book.