September 20, 2011 · 12:26 pm
Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew by Jim Higley (Greenleaf Book Group; $14.95; 201 pages)
There is something about cancer that strikes a chord with nearly everyone. Whether it is the fear that it could happen to anyone at anytime, the fact that nearly everyone knows somebody who has suffered through the dreaded disease, or some other mysterious quality that separates this affliction from others, there is no disputing the fact that the mere mention of cancer quickly gets people’s attention.
In his early forties, Jim Higley, a single dad with three young children was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The prognosis was particularly ominous due to his family’s history of cancer and the fact that he had lost his brother to brain cancer just a few years earlier.
Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew is his story. The term bobblehead refers to the sports replica figurines whose heads bobble. Early in the book, Higley recalls his fondness for them as a child and realizes that he has taken on that characteristic as a dad by routinely bobbing his head dismissively when he returns home from work and listens to his children’s stories of their days.
That is the beginning of the format of the book in which the author pairs childhood memories with his real-time cancer experiences to craft a series of 25 lessons focused on choices that allow for happiness and healthy relationships.
The writing is excellent. The lessons initially appear to be a bit simplistic or quaint, but in the context of the author’s battle with cancer, the reader is much more inclined to internalize the inherent wisdom of many of them. My personal favorite is Lesson 12: Rest. Some other examples include “Embrace Who You Are” and “Lessons Happen Every Day.” Again, out of context, they might appear too unsophisticated for 21st Century America, but that appears to be exactly the point – they are not. In fact, they are presented as foundational building blocks for life.
Due to consistency in voice and presentation, the book flows seamlessly from page to page. The reader can easily relate to the anecdotes, topics, and relationships that permeate the true tale. In no way is the book’s audience limited to males, cancer survivors, or other types of age ranges or subgroups. It can be read quickly in a few settings or in short segments as time allows. Overall, Bobblehead Dad is a gem.
A review copy was provided by the author. Dave Moyer is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel. Note: Readers who relate to this book might also be interested in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and/or Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.
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Tagged as 25 Life Lessons, a novel, baseball, Bobblehead Dad, bobblehead figurines, book review, cancer, cancer survivors, contentment, Daniel Gilbert, Dave Moyer, disease, Embrace Who You Are, excellent writing, family life, fear, Greenleaf Book Group Press, Gretchen Rubin, happiness, illness, Jim Higley, Joseph's Reviews, Kindle Edition, Lessons Happen Every Day, Lessons I Forgot I Knew, Life and Life Only, life lessons, male adults, mortality, mourning, nonfiction, Nook Book, prostate cancer, recommended books, rest, Stumbling On Happiness, survival, The Happiness Project
May 18, 2011 · 1:56 pm
A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenny Frankel with Eve Adamson (Touchstone; $24.99; 336 pages) or The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brenne Brown (Hazelden Publishing; $14.95; 260 pages)
Let’s be practical and admit that one size does not fit all. For that matter, one approach to self-realization is not the answer for everyone. With that in mind these two books are being reviewed in a comparison of sorts.
Each of the authors is a well-known figure with their own realm. Bethenny Frankel has accomplished the following: hosting her own reality TV show – Bethenny Ever After, developing a wildly popular beverage line – Skinny Girl Margaritas, which she has recently sold to the big boys of the adult beverage industry, and writing several well-received books relating to her expertise in dieting and healthy cooking. Dr. Brenne Brown is also the author of several books, a university professor and a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. She is an expert in the area of shame and her findings have been featured on Public Broadcasting as well as on commercial television, including the Oprah Show.Both women are mothers and profess to be very happily married to their respective husbands. They share the need to overcome traumas from their childhoods that have had great impact on their adult lives. The reader is presented with 10 steps to use in moving toward a better life that the author has crafted based on her own growth and development. In Bethenny’s case, the 10 rules for living are dished up with a generous helping of her life story and in Brene’s, they are guideposts based on her qualitative research of the notion of wholehearted living along with glimpses into her life.
You may be seeking a wholehearted life or wish to come from a place of yes. These are the two concepts featured in the books. The reader is addressed directly by the authors and made privy to rather personal information that serves to create a somewhat therapeutic relationship. Both of them provide insights into the notion of leading a satisfying and fulfilling life. Here is where the similarities end.
Bethenny sounds like the New Yorker she is and comes off as a combination cheerleader/Dutch uncle – in a good way. There’s plenty of straight talk offered in a smart, funny convincing style. Her freewheeling, no guts, no glory approach to life’s challenges is blunt and direct. She urges the reader to break the chain that anchors the reader to the past. Yes, s**t happens and something happened to you. The reader is told to quit looking back letting what happened then shape your life now.
Brene uses a voice as one would imagine coming from a credentialed university professor and lecturer. Moreover, her publisher, Hazelden, is a well-respected institution in the field of addiction treatment and recovery. Her style can best be described as reporting out, speaking directly to the reader using conclusions she has reached after years of carefully conducted research. The gently encouraging guideposts are clearly non-threatening. A sense of disclosure reminiscent of a Twelve-Step meeting permeates the book.
The choice is up to you! Regardless of your style preference, the book you choose will be quite engaging and may even get you to move your life in a better direction. Highly recommended are both books.
Review copies were provided by the publisher.
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Tagged as 10 steps, A Place of Yes, addiction treatment, adult beverages, advice, Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny Frankel, book review, Brene Brown, diets, Embrace Who You Are, Eve Adamson, guideposts, Hazelden Publishing, healthy cooking, healthy food, Joseph's Reviews, Kindle Edition, lecturer, life's lessons, New Yorker, NookBook, Oprah, personal growth, personal improvement, Public Broadcasting, recommended books, recovery, rules for living, Ruta Arellano, self-acceptance, self-discovery, self-help books, Skinny Girl Margaritas, stuff happens, Texas, The Gifts of Imperfection, Touchstone Books, Twelve-Step meetings, university professor