Tag Archives: Harmony Books

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Orloff-Ecstasy-of-Surrender-cover

The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life by Judith Orloff, MD (Harmony Books, $26.00, 432 pages)

“Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

Judith Orloff is a well-known New York Times best-selling author (Emotional Freedom, Positive Energy) who has earned significant credentials in the field of psychiatry. Orloff is also an assistant clinical professor at UCLA’s medical school. And yet, her nearly breathless and exuberant rush of ideas crammed into the first chapters of The Ecstasy of Surrender read like a girlish first attempt at writing.

Once into her topic and warmed up, Dr. Orloff settles down to a calm, deliberate pace while explaining the ways to self-diagnose one’s own limited behavior. The layout of the chapters is a standard explanatory set up with a questionnaire and practical advice that follows. There are lists, bullet points and quotes throughout.

The reader is encouraged to pick and choose topics from among the 12 surrenders (The First Surrender: Redefining True Success, Power, and Happiness) featured in the book. Each chapter feels like a workshop. Readers would be wise to explore the chapters they may initially deem not applicable to them, as there’s solid information and advice to be gained.

Ecstasy of Surrender (audible audio)

Unless you’re a hermit, you will be in contact with other people and some of them may benefit from reading or listening to this book. It’s clearly meant to be shared.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Coming Up Next…

Ecstasy-of-Surrender

Orloff-Ecstasy-of-Surrender-cover

A review of The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life by Judith Orloff, MD.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Our House

No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman (Harmony Books, $23.00, 251 pages)

“There are so many times I have asked the question: Am I home?

This is a fun one that will remind adult readers of the struggling times in their twenties, looking for stability, romance and a  place that feels like home.   Brooke Berman tells about her period as a struggling young playwright and writer in Manhattan and Brooklyn during the period from 1998 through the summer of 2002.   It was in these years that the chronically  penniless Berman lived in 39 different apartments.

One thing that’s entertaining about this memoir is learning about the language of real estate in New York City.   There are terms like floor-through apartments, couch-surf, railroad flat (I once lived in one in Los Angeles) and 420 friendly.   OK, the latter term is not actually mentioned by Berman but she made apartment shopping in Manhattan and Brooklyn sound so interesting that I came upon the term online.

Note:  420 friendly means that one’s prospective roommates smoke pot and want their new tenant to be cool with that.

There’s also the reminder of what it’s like to be without money among people of prosperity.   Part of the experience, for Berman, is a good one:  “When I’m struggling, I know what to do and who to be:  I don’t spend money…  When I have money, I am forced to make choices.”   I recall a friend who in college said, “I feel pure when, as a struggling student, I have no money.   It feels better than when I do have money and I feel like I’ve done something wrong.”

But because Berman was raised by a stylish mother in the fashion industry in Michigan, she also knows how far she’s fallen…

“I was the only eight-year-old in the Detroit suburbs who could speak on Giorgio Armani’s fall line.  …now I feel like I come more from Avenue A.   From the poppy-seed cafe and dance workshops, downtown sublets and unmatched clothes, care of Salvation Armani.”

That should give you a hint of Berman’s humor which is laced through more serious things.   During this period she seems to be extremely unlucky in love, always choosing the guy who’s exactly wrong for her.   It’s as if she has a personal radar system for finding Not the Right Guy or Mr. Wrong.   There’s also the fact of having to deal with her mother’s illness and apparent demise after not one but two kidney transplant operations:  “My mother’s death is the thing I have been most afraid of my entire life…  The fear of (her) death is more threatening to me, and more primal, than anything.”

Brooke’s mother’s illness seems to stand as a symbol of the things that have gone wrong in Brooke’s life:  “I want to feel better, too.”

While this is an engaging memoir, it does have one disturbing flaw.   Like Julie Metz in her memoir Perfection, Berman tells us far more about her sex life (with whom she did what, and exactly what) than we’d care to know.   Too much information, girl, way too much.   Is there some type of anti-privacy virus going around that makes  people disclose everyone they’ve gotten next to in their lives?

And, yet, the true tale ends with Berman living happily ever after in perfect city abodes, with the perfect “forever” partner and the long dreamt of career.   Who says that modern fairy tales don’t come true?

Recommended.

“To deny change is to deny life.   And the present moment contains miracles.  …I can say now that I have many homes.”

A review copy was received from the publisher.   Thanks to Elaine at Wink Public Relations (wink pr) for her assistance.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Potential is a heavy burden

“There’s no heavier burden than a great potential.”   Charlie Brown

I’m usually a cheerleader for stories involving animals but this one lacked something, I’m not exactly sure just what…   excitement, charm, humor, human relevance?   The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter: A Memoir is the true tale of a woman whose father literally raised up to 9,000 gerbils at a time.   The publicity for the book made it seem as if the father did this to promote medical research for the condition (cystic fibrosis) that killed the author’s sister.   But sister Gail died well before the mega gerbil farm was established.

It may also be that the author’s father – the prime character here, more than the author –  is simply not someone the average reader will identify with.   A retired navy commander, he comes off as gruff and argumentative; someone who uses and abuses his wife and children.   (At one point he fires his wife from the family business replacing her with his mother.)GerbilThen there’s author Holly Robinson, who displays some odd contradictions.   For example, at one point (pages 140-142), she asks her high school classmates, “Why do you hate me so much?   I haven’t done anything.”   She asks this as the victim of mean behavior and bad language.   But then just one  page later (143) she uses very negative language to make fun of some neighbors:   “…the Albino children wore plastic bread bags wrapped around their feet instead of boots.”   The Albinos, a derogatory term adopted by Holly’s mother, are poor – “The one thing they all had in common besides missing teeth was their white-blond hair and pink-rimmed eyes…”

As far as the reader can tell, the neighbors never did anything to the author and her family…   So why did they hate their neighbors so much?   Simply because they were poor?

Once we realize that there’s no nexus (connection) between the gerbil farm and life saving research, a lot of the assumed charm and relevance (if not romance) of the story melts away.   Robinson might have been better off writing a straight biography of her life – with her family members as secondary figures – or a cute modern guidebook to raising gerbils (an updating of the books her father used to write).   As it is, there was just something missing in this book’s 289 pages.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized