4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · memoir · non fiction · Sports

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic #Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines | ARC #BookReview

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 

Pages: 144 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gymnastics, women speaking out, learning more about the culture of abuse, strong women 

Foodie Vibes: oooh, that’s a tough one when it comes to gymnastics – ideally it should be a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbs and lots of vegetables, but in reality it’s probably a lot of disordered eating 

 

Synopsis:

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Rachel Haines for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • She was able to speak her truth and current perspective of John Geddert. She enjoyed having him as a coach. Many other people have spoken out against his abusive coaching techniques, which I absolutely believe. But the problems of the sport of gymnastics are not one sided, so its good that everyone can tell their story. 
  • Hearing her perspective of the story (her’s only), not just what we were getting from the media
  • I can see this being the first of many books written, by different authors, about the same subject. Finally the world is getting a more complete view of gymnastics – the good and the bad.

Love: 

  • She’s using her voice to tell her story and speak out against the abuse and toxic culture of the sport.
  • Discusses the abuse without being unnecessarily overly graphic, IMO
  • Discusses the abusive culture of gymnastics as a whole, because it’s not just one person’s bad actions 

Dislike:

  • The culture of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that’s been allowed throughout the sport of gymnastics, because of the people in charge not putting athlete safety and well being first 

Wish that:

  • It was a bit longer. The content is great and the perfect length, but I would have liked to hear more about the sport as a whole and the culture of abuse across multiple gyms. Maybe that’s for another book and I would absolutely read that too.

Overall, a very necessary book about the current culture within the sport of gymnastics. A great read about a difficult topic. I think everyone needs to read Rachel’s story, especially anyone currently or ever involved in the sport. 

 

How many of you did gymnastics as a kid?

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · crime · memoir · non fiction · True Crime

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson | New Release #BookReview

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A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

Published: January 29, 2019 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, memoir, true crime 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: truly honest memoirs, true crime books from a different perspective

Foodie Vibes: barely anything, because you’re too stressed to eat

 

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?
 
In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichita celebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

 For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson, and Kerri Rawson for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • It’s about the infamous BTK killer without being too graphic
  • Shows how manipulative BTK was to even his own family
  • Interesting to read 
  • Sparked a conversation when I told other people what I was reading 

Love:

  • Get a different perspective than many other true crime books
  • The author gets to speak up about how her dad’s crimes impacted her life – seems validating

Dislike:

  • There was so many pages about a family hiking trip, early on in the book. It made some good points, but became redundant. 

Wish that:

  • I knew why there American society as a whole is fascinated by serial killers. 
  • The pacing was a bit better.

Overall, an interesting book that I would recommend to people looking to read about serial killers from a completely different perspective. 

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

 

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · memoir · non fiction

Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia | Release Day #BookReview

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Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

Published: March 5, 2019 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 336

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, non fiction

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gender affirming books, reading and learning more about the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, memoirs by people with beautiful souls, books with gorgeous covers — can you tell I loved it???

Foodie Vibes: alcohol and dorm food, because college is where you figure things out 

 

Synopsis: 

From the moment a doctor in Cary, North Carolina put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!”

Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride, a curse-turned-blessing, a freak-flag hoisted high.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story charts those decades, from Jacob’s Methodist childhood to the hallowed halls of Duke University and the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, taking you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget. With the snarky voice and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.” Sissyguarantees that you’ll never think about gender–both other people’s and your own–the same way again.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Jacob Tobia for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • fun upbeat read – the book put m in such a good mood despite the struggles that they went through
  • their experiences navigating college life versus the “real world” as a person who is gender non binary

Love:

  • The cover: the colors are beautiful and eye catching – makes me smile every time I look at it
  • Jacob is telling their story, no matter who cares.
  • Celebrates all people in the LGBTQIA+ community, not just those who fall into the typical gender roles 
  • Their story is real, honest, raw yet is still upbeat because of their AWESOME personality
  • Their love and passion for fashion
  • They are kind, sassy and a badass!
  • The self reflection- especially acknowledging the parts of life that aren’t strictly black or white, good or bad.

Dislike:

Wish that:

  • The book was longer. People need to hear more from Jacob and their beautiful soul. 

Overall, I cannot say enough great things about this book. You absolutely need to read it!

 

Is this book on your TBR yet? 

If not, what are you waiting for?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

 

 

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Business · memoir · non fiction

The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose by Chris Wilson | New Release #BookReview

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The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose by Chris Wilson

Published: February 5, 2019 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 432 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, business

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: inspirational memoir, lifelong learning

Foodie Vibes: healthy food choices: high quality protein, vegetables, minimal sugar and junk food 

 

Synopsis: 

The inspiring, instructive, and ultimately triumphant memoir of a man who used hard work and a Master Plan to turn a life sentence into a second chance.

Growing up in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, Chris Wilson was so afraid for his life he wouldn’t leave the house without a gun. One night, defending himself, he killed a man. At eighteen, he was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole.

But what should have been the end of his story became the beginning. Deciding to make something of his life, Chris embarked on a journey of self-improvement–reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. He wrote his Master Plan: a list of all he expected to accomplish or acquire. He worked his plan every day for years, and in his mid-thirties he did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence and became a free man. Today Chris is a successful social entrepreneur who employs returning citizens; a mentor; and a public speaker. He is the embodiment of second chances, and this is his unforgettable story.

 

Review:

I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Chris Wilson for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • I learned a lot — about the prison system, prison life, growing up with limited resources, fear, too few positive role models, a system that works against you. Basically so many of the things I was fortunate enough to not have to experience while growing up. 
  • Gives actual insight into the day to day experiences of so many kids experiencing the same things as him

Love:

  • The hard work he puts into his life
  • Inspiring story — including all the steps and setbacks that have led to his success and happiness
  • Hes a lifelong learner
  • His Master Plan: so poignant, applicable, and helpful for many people 
  • He wrote his book to be an inspiration, a guide to those people with his experiences that don’t have it all figured out yet.
  • Couldn’t stop reading it 
  • Well written and relatable 
  • Business oriented but still very approachable

Dislike:

  • The prison system doesn’t set people up for success when they get out – desperately needs changing 

Wish that:

  • Many people take his book and life teachings to heart, so they can improve their lives like they so deserve.

Overall, a really great book that I’ve already been recommending to other people. 

 

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Have you read The Master Plan yet? 

What did you think?

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · memoir

The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson | ARC #BookReview

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The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation by Jodie Patterson

Published: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 352

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, feminism,

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: learning about a family’s journey through learning from and educating for their trans kid, the LGBTQIA+ community, brave powerful women 

Foodie Vibes: Southern cooking

 

Synopsis: 

As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009 this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing that her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.

In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope– and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.

As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her–the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history–particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and, most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Jodie Patterson for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like: 

  • Hearing all of the author’s life lessons learned through there personal experiences, from friends and family, and through parenting
  • The power of the Black Panther Movement for her
  • Discussions of power 
  • Representation: trans boy in a black family
  • The overall journey of her son and learning to be a part of the trans community

Love:

  • The life lesson: to define yourself or the world will; distance yourself from anyone who said you need to be anyone other than yourself
  • Her overall continual journey of personal growth 
  • The message that trans people don’t need to change their names, bodies, clothes, hormones, etc. to be considered a certain gender, or even need to identify with a gender, but they may choose to do so if it feels right to them

Dislike:

  • Once someone refers to Penelope as not a real boy, if I remember correctly. I’m not sure who said it or what their intentions were, but still … 
  • Her father’s harsh way of parenting

Wish that:

  • There was a little less about her childhood. While there were lots of great life lessons, it became a little long winded at times.

 

Overall, a good comprehensive memoir about the author’s life, journey through personal growth, advocacy and learning bout her son’s life as a trans boy. 

 

Bookish Question: 

Have you read this book?

What did you think?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Medical · memoir · non fiction

New Release |Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers by Marianna Crane

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Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers by Marianna Crane

Published: November 6, 2018

Publisher: She Writes Press

Pages: 232 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, medical

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: books about medicine and nursing

Foodie Vibes: potluck style luncheon for the community

 

Synopsis:

Running a clinic for seniors requires a lot more than simply providing medical care. In Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic, Marianna Crane chases out scam artists and abusive adult children, plans a funeral, signs her own name to social security checks, and butts heads with her staff―two spirited older women who are more well-intentioned than professional―even as she deals with a difficult situation at home, where the tempestuous relationship with her own mother is deteriorating further than ever before. Eventually, however, Crane maneuvers her mother out of her household and into an apartment of her own―but only after a power struggle and no small amount of guilt―and she finally begins to learn from her older staff and her patients how to juggle traditional health care with unconventional actions to meet the complex needs of a frail and underserved elderly population.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, She Writes Press and Marianna Crane for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic is a wonderful representation of the realities of nursing. The author tells stories from her time running a clinic for seniors. She was one of the first gerontological nurse practitioners in the 1980s. A pioneer in the field!

I liked that the book shows the realities of nursing: the good, bad and mundane. The more accurate representations in the media, the better. Certainly no silly stereotypes here. The author told her experiences with authenticity, dignity and respect for her elderly clients. 

While the realities of aging can be unpleasant at times, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve kindness and human decency. A great addition to the literature and history about the nursing profession.

 

What’s a silly stereotype that you’ve heard about nurses? 

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · Medical · memoir · mental health · non fiction · psychology · religion · Self Help

Mindfulness Matters: A Guide to Mastering Your Life by Pax Tandon

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Mindfulness Matters: A Guide to Mastering Your Life by Pax Tandon

Published: June 28, 2018

Publisher: Red Feather

Pages: 224

Genres: non fiction, psychology, memoir, self help, alternative medicine, spirituality

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: alternative medicine, preventative care for your body, taking charge of your life from all aspects

Foodie Vibes: well balanced healthy diet to fuel your mind, body and soul

 

Synopsis:

Get the insider’s scoop on how to attain a fully flourishing life. Encompassing deep dives into mind, body, and spirit, you will be introduced to the science of positive psychology, engage with the practice of mindfulness, learn how to build an optimally efficient body, and commit to an elevation of your spirit. This is flourishing in action! Whether struggling with anxiety or depression, searching to fill a missing void, or just interested in everyday self-care, you will learn to identify opportunities for growth and seamlessly integrate life-changing practices into daily habits. Replete with powerful affirmations and practice exercises throughout, you will be able to build the framework that fuels and furthers your evolutionary journey for years to come and changes the trajectory of your life forever.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Red Feather and Pax Tandon for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Mindfulness Matters is a fun, kind, lighthearted book that covers a lot of topics. If you want to know the author’s thoughts on basically all aspects of life ranging from physical and mental health to dating and even alternative medicine, you will find it all here. 

There are many topics in which I agree with her. The focus on sleep hygiene is great. I’m even going to take her suggestion and look into an app to filter out blue light. Also her focus on compassion which will help prevent anger is much appreciated. Most of the book highlights the importance of self care in some manner. 

A lot of the book is the author telling her story. While it’s interesting and informative, I found it difficult to apply to my life. There were also parts that I absolutely disagree with. While she meant well, talking about post traumatic growth as an option instead of PTSD felt a little invalidating. Also I wish the mentions of hot yoga came with a health waring. Hot yoga can be wonderful, but also not safe for people with certain health conditions. Great for her, but not for all. While incredibly interesting, I’m not sure that all of the information was scientifically accurate, so a reminder to all to do their own research before making health, wellness, and lifestyle changes. 

Obviously I have some strong concerns on the book. Enjoyable, informative, and highlights the benefits of alternative medicine and lifestyle choices. Just be cautious when making changes for yourself based on someone else’s lifestyle. Do what’s right for you.

What’s your favorite self care activity?

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Medical · memoir · non fiction

Dispatches from the Heart: Transplanting One Heart and Transforming Many Others by Ed and Paige Innerarity

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Dispatches from the Heart: Transplanting One Heart and Transforming Many Others by Ed and Paige Innerarity

Published: June 6, 2018

Publisher: River Grove Books

Pages: 202

Genres: non fiction, memoir, medical

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: using faith to get through a difficult time, heartfelt stories, inspiring reads

Foodie Vibes: healthy foods that protect your heart

 

Synopsis:

Ed Innerarity was a regular guy: He liked to fly fish, ride his bike, and laugh with his family, and he attended church every Sunday. He also had a heart condition called cardiomyopathy and needed a new heart. Ed refused to even consider a heart transplant until his doctor gave him two options: Get a heart transplant or check in to a hospice care facility. He didn’t want to die.

Dispatches from the Heart is a compilation of emails from friends, family, and the authors themselves describing Ed’s journey through the heart transplant process. Full of compelling, inspiring, and often witty insights into this life-changing event, Ed and Paige share the challenges and triumphs they both faced before, during, and after Ed’s life-saving surgery.

This book is a tribute to those who helped make a second chance at life possible, an invitation into the intimate inner dialogue of a family ever changed, and a beacon of hope for those who may be part of a similar journey.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and publisher for the ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Dispatches from the Heart is the life journey of Ed, who needs and ends up receiving a heart transplant in his 60s. The touching insightful memoir highlights the importance of healthy life choices. Even if they can’t prevent illness, they can help the person live their best life during the struggles and potentially slow the progression of the health issue. Ed has cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition in which the heart gets weaker and less efficient over time. Due to his family history he got tested and knew he would eventually succumb to the same disease his mother passed away from. 

The book is a unique look into the journey a lot of families go through. Knowing you need an organ transplant, but not knowing if you will get one. His story is told through different forms: passages from him and his wife looking back, emails from him or his wife, email responses from loved ones, photos, song suggestions, and occasionally short descriptions of the medical terminology. It gives an authentic look what the family was going through during this difficult time. The family looks towards their faith a lot during this challenging time, as they do throughout the rest of life as well. 

I liked that he highlights the important of pre-hab while on the waiting list for a cardiac transplant. It shows the importance of strengthening your body before the transplant, so you can have the best chance for a good outcome. 

While the outlook is extremely positive, it may be difficult for people who are struggling with the transplant process, because they may not see themselves in his process. While he struggled, as well as his family, it wasn’t shown that much. That’s fine. Completely his choice what he shares, but it could alienate some people who are struggling to deal with and relate. 

Overall, an enlightening, inspiring book that shows Ed’s journey in the organ transplant process. A great read for someone who may know someone going through something similar and wants to know more about it. 

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · memoir

This Is Me by Chrissy Metz

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This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today by Chrissy Metz

Published: March 27, 2018

Publisher: Day Street Books

Pages: 308

Genres: memoir

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: This Is Us, books that speak to you in the most profound way, Oprah mentions!, self evolutions 

Foodie Vibes: food that feeds your body and nourishes your soul

 

Synopsis:

A prescriptive and inspirational book of life lessons from the Emmy Award-nominee and breakout star of television’s #1 hit show, NBC’s This Is Us.

Debuting in fall 2016, This Is Us quickly became America’s most watched—and most talked about—network television show. Within weeks of its premier, actress Chrissy Metz and her character, Kate, were embraced by countless fans. Seemingly overnight, Chrissy found herself on magazine covers and talk shows, walking red carpets, and the subject of endless conversations on social media.

Chrissy chalks up her popularity to the authenticity of the role. She believes that fans sense she is playing a character whose life is not so very different from her own. It is a performance that comes from her heart and gut, from a universal place that rings true. In reality, Chrissy’s presence, her perseverance in Hollywood, and her success story is as genuine—and as inspirational—as it gets. There is no better person to represent and speak out for the everywoman and her experiences.

Embracing the spirit of Shonda Rhime’s Year of Yes, Chrissy’s touching, wise, and honest book speaks to all of us. Blending love and experience, Chrissy encourages us to claim our rightful place in a world that may be trying to knock us down from all sides. Throughout, her positivity, confidence, and humor are infectious, whether she’s talking about her past or present, and she offers amazing one-liners such as:

Who needs to fit in when you’re meant to stand out?
You need to both know better and do better!
The key is to act deserving, but not entitled.

Not your standard celebrity memoir or essay collection, Why Fit in When You’re Meant to Stand Out is a smart and helpful guide for living through tough stuff and coming out the other side, written by a woman who has done just that. Grounded and spiritual, Chrissy teaches each one of us how to find our own unique voice—and pursue our dreams.

 

Review:

I absolutely flew through this gem of a book. I put aside the other books I was reading, because I could not stop reading this one. I’m a huge fan of This Is Us, so of course I had to read Chrissy’s memoir. We learn so much about her life story. But what’s even better is all the life lessons that she shares with us. It’s like having an awesome, smart, and incredibly kind big sister give us a helping hand in life. I could have highlighted almost every page, because there was so much relatable wisdom shared. I loved the mix of her life journey combined with incredibly relatable anecdotes about her struggles, triumphs, and lessons learned along the way. I cannot get enough of her book, so now I’m going on YouTube and searching for her interviews. She’s brilliant! A quick amazing read that I highly recommend!

 

How many of you watch This Is Us? 

Which Pearson(s) do you relate to most? 

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · memoir

ARC Book Review | Freedom is an Inside Job by Zainab Salbi

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Freedom is an Inside Job: Owning Our Darkness and Our Light to Heal Ourselves and the World by Zainab Salbi

Published: October 2, 2018

Publisher: Sounds True

Pages: 184

Genres: memoir

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: enlightening personal exploration, learning to forgive people who have hurt you, stories of women who grew up in Iraq

Foodie Vibes: homemade authentic Iraqi meals shared with family

 

Synopsis:

By all appearances, Zainab Salbi has had an impressive life. Growing up as the daughter of Saddam Hussein’s personal pilot, she eventually became a celebrated humanitarian and activist. Yet, as she was helping thousands of women in war-torn countries, Salbi’s personal life was coming to a crisis. In Freedom Is an Inside Job, Salbi explores her own riveting journey to wholeness—and how embarking on such a journey enables each of us to create the world we want to live in.

After years of working as a successful CEO and change-maker, Salbi realized that if she wanted to confront and heal the shadows of the world, she needed to face her own shadows first—and this could only be done by looking within. Through personal anecdotes, real-life stories, parables, and insightful guidance, Salbi takes us through a process of self-discovery. We learn to uncover our hidden motives and desires so we can live in alignment with our authentic values. “As long as we are conflicted within, we will continue to live in conflict without,” writes Salbi. “If we want to change the world, we must begin with ourselves.”

 

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, Sounds True Publishing, and Zainab Salbi for a free ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Zainab Salbi’s story takes us from her childhood in Iraq to an arranged marriage in America to founding an organization to help women all over the world. She’s very accomplished. The book is her life story along with all the lessons she’s learned along the way. 

Her story is unique, yet many women can relate to her emotions and lessons learned. I liked that we get a peek into daily life of women living in Iraq at that time, not just what the U.S. mainstream media was delivering – a very limited, one sided view of the world. The life lessons of forgiveness, shame and fear, taking inventory of one’s inner self, and rediscovering your feelings is a main focus. There’s a lot to learn from her experiences and revelations.

However as great as her story is, it isn’t captivate me personally. It’s not boring by any means, but jumps around a bit. Also some parts feel like a therapy session for her; a book of remorse and past mistakes. It’s important to acknowledge but it dominated a lot of the chapters.

Overall, the story of the author’s life combined with the lessons she learned pull together to educate, inspire and enlighten others. The cons of the book made it not quite as enjoyable as I had hoped.