Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is May 12th and I have finished my book, all 310 pages of it, and I read it cover to cover.  If I want to get really arrogant about it, I didn't even finish it today, I finished it yesterday, and I only had about 4 pages left that I succeeded in reading while I was feeding Ansley.  (Hey, a girl's gotta multi-task in this household to accomplish anything.) 

So, I'm doing as I promised and I'm telling you what my opinion was of the book.  Not that my opinion matters, but let's pretend it does for a moment, shall we?

I found The Happiness Project delightful.  No, really, I did.  Obviously, since I, who self admittedly has not read since 'AR' warped my love for it in middle school, finished 310 pages in about 11 days.  I became leery as I started the book and the author revealed a great deal about herself.  Her background is in law, she lives in New York City, they have a lot of money, and we don't like a lot of the same things... except writing (I later found out.)  Here I'm reading this book about her happiness project, and now I'm leery that this woman is going to have no idea what makes me happy.  We have nothing in common. 

But I was wrong.  Turns out we have a lot more in common than I would have imagined.  She lists several secrets of adulthood and splendid truths that I found to be very common with my own life.  Many of these things were things that I had once thought but had never articulated. 

The book accounts a journey based around the idea that the days are long but the years are short.  (How stinking true is that?  I can remember days that I felt would never be over - like when Bryton was a collicky infant - and I can't believe that was over two years ago at this point!)  The author, Gretchen Rubin, finds herself on a bus asking herself if she's really happy or if she's just kind of moving through life.  She set out with a set of resolutions, 12 months worth exact, to increase her happiness.

Rubin is very type A, a quality that I love about her (and a reason it has been such a topic of my conversation lately).  Because of this quality she is all about making charts and going about her resolutions very dogmatically.  That being said, she is very encouraging to the reader to try your own happiness project and to do so in  your own way, shape or form.  And you really believe her that it's okay to do that.  In fact, her first commandment for herself in her happiness journey was to 'Be Gretchen.'  Of course she's going to urge you to 'Be (insert your name here)!' 

Overall - the way the book was written not only made me want to continue reading it, it also convicted me on some levels, enlightened me on others, and, believe it or not, has surprisingly made me happier during the 11 days that I've been following my own month of goals (which she reprimands the use of the word 'goals' towards the end of her book... oy).  Somehow, embracing who I really am, making my life far more busy by cramming more stuff into my day, and moving more and sitting less, I'm happier.  
So - do I think it's worth a read?  Yep, I sure do.  I'm not claiming any instant happiness or anything.  There's no guaranty on her book, and if she can't guaranty her ideas, neither can I.  But I do see that if you can take her ideas, make them your own, and really figure out what things aggravate you and what things relieve you - you might just be able to make everyday existence more enjoyable.  And her book makes it easier to understand that enjoyment.  (You have to read the book to 'get' that.)   And it's an easy read, so, why not?  Exactly.

That being said, I'm continuing on this book thing.  It's a part of my 'unofficial' happiness project.  (I may start an official one at some point... we'll see.)  Next on the agenda:  God as Author, as it was recommended by a friend.  

I'll keep you posted.

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