SMILE AT STRANGERS by Susan Schorn

SMILE AT STRANGERS

And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly

KIRKUS REVIEW

One woman's journey to overcome fear through martial arts.

Two-time black belt Schorn didn't always feel confident in her surroundings. In fact, before she discovered karate, she was often immobilized by either fear or anger. "I was angry at the way fear constrained my life; angry at the world for failing to obviate my fear,” she writes. “I was angry that society seemed to think women should just get used to seeing themselves as victims. I was angry that a lot of women seemed to agree." When a colleague invited her to an all-female dojo, Schorn was able to vent her frustration and overcome her fears while "hitting things and yelling." Using karate as the background, the author shows readers how she overcame her anxieties and demonstrates how they can overcome their own fears: of the dark, of saying “no,” of feeling like a victim. Schorn couples detailed descriptions of Kyokushin karate moves with statements that will build women’s confidence and empower them to resist and reject the common perception that they are weaker and more vulnerable than men. She also discusses how looking down instead of at someone shows passivity and how finding one's center works in both karate and life. Some of the occasionally clichéd but often true axioms include, "parenthood is the most terrifying ordeal you will ever undergo, enjoy it," and "push yourself past your limits; then let your friends push you further." Although karate may not be the right discipline for some people, Schorn's experiences encourage women to stand up and fight for what they believe in, despite the odds, and to smile and enjoy the process while doing so.

Useful, perceptive advice on life found through the practice of karate.

Pub Date: May 28th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-77433-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2013




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