Thursday, October 7, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Self-Help

I just finished my first "self-help" book.  I didn't read it because I was looking for help.  I read it because I went to College with the author.  I read a review of her book - recognized the name and face and thought ok - I 'll give it a try.  The book is This Is Not The Story You think It Is, A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson. 

Ms. Munson does not call this a self-help book - that is my label.  She calls it a memoir.  A memoir of a charmed life with a few bad patches.  I remember Laura well.  She was the "it" girl, the "golden" girl in college.  She starred in all the plays, she was a sorority girl, had the gorgeous boyfriend., was pretty and semi-nice  You know, everything you wish you were and more.  She comes from a privileged background - private schools, grew-up on the right side of the tracks, didn't want for much.  Her book will tell you all this should you choose to read it.  She has wonderful life with the exception of 4 months of marital issues.  That is the crux of her book.  It is how she dealt with her husband's mid-life crisis and how they go through it.

I didn't think I was going to like this book.  It started off rough.  A little tough to take - too much of Laura and not enough story.  But as we delved into her life - she sketches it out - and into recent disconnect with her husband, I began to enjoy the book. It seemed to pick-up the pace and caused me to want to finish it.  I did learn something from the book - a big something.  We are, each one of us, responsible for our own happiness.  Not a new concept right? But Laura does put it in layman's terms.  Her focus on her own marriage and her husbands bombshell one day that he doesn't love her anymore and her reaction to that statement is new.  She chose not the fight or flight mode but the stand strong mode.  She chose to focus on herself and pushed her husband to do the same. 

I think many marriages go through what Laura went through.  Most don't make it through the rough patch.  She offers a unique perspective on how to react when your spouse tells  you those hateful words - I don't love you, I 'm done, I want out. Whatever they are, her take on it is new and fresh. It gives you a peak into someone else's misery...and ultimately how the author chose to deal with it. 


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jenn. Thanks for reading my book and musing upon it here. I hope your readers will take from it what you did-- that happiness really is a choice and that there's intense personal freedom in being responsible for our own happiness no matter what's going on in our lives. I haven't been back to our college since graduation and am looking forward to returning in the spring to speak there. I'm sorry if I was only "semi-nice" in those days. I like to think I am REALLY nice now. Adolescence being what it was, those weren't the easiest years for me. To that end, somebody I considered as "golden" as golden gets, recently found me, admitted to pulling a bunch of pranks on me in college and being really mean behind my back, and apologized. It was the coolest thing. Here's the blog post I wrote about it.

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