Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos

It took me two months to sit myself down and write this damn book review.
But not for the reasons you might think. The book isn’t badly written or boring (it’s wonderful on both accounts), nor is it long or stuffy. The simple truth is that my [love] life exploded into a hundred little pieces this winter, and I was forced to stop, evaluate, and pick up each and every little bit of myself (whether I liked what I found or not) and build myself back into the woman I thought I was, the woman I wanted to be.

wake-up-to-the-joy-of-youWhy am I telling you all this? Especially after trying my best to keep it under wraps online and among friends and family? Well, because Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos, gave me some clarity and helped me hold onto my personal truths as my marriage (and I) fell apart. It was probably the best book I could’ve picked up at the time, and because of that, I feel like it’s worth sharing. This book couldn’t have landed on my doorstep at a better time.

And before you ask, let me just come out with it: no, this book didn’t save my marriage, nor was it meant to. It did save my sanity, though, and god bless it for that. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life, is a compilation of not-so-pushy-or-preachy essays focused on living a happier, more self-aware life. It doesn’t suggest making drastic life changes or overhauling your approach to people or problems, it simply calls for being more ‘awake’ to your own wants and needs, to participating in a little self reflection in order to build a better life.

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Book Review: The Emotional Edge

Let me start off by saying that not all inspirational, self-help books are created equal. And more often than not, many authors spend the first two or three chapters convincing readers that she’s qualified to give you this advice, she’s struggled to overcome her past, she’s been depressed but pulled herself through and yada yada yada

But lucky for me (and you, fellow readers), The Emotional Edge is not one of those books and I didn’t have to suffer through a long, sad soliloquy right off the bat.

Instead, author Crystal Andrus Morissette cuts right to the chase by giving readers a quick and dirty self-identifying personality quiz within the first few chapters. Following the quiz are brief descriptions of the most common personality archetypes that most people fall into while communicating with others: the child, the parent, and the adult.

These archetypes are the foundation of Morissette’s belief, which is that by identifying our most prevalent archetypes and the communication issues that come with them, we can learn to overcome our issues and move towards personal growth and authentic happiness.

Now I know this all sounds kind of mushy, and maybe a little heavy on the hippie-ish self-love stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of this book is centered on long-established, sociological and psychological principles. To name just a few, Morissette draws on Jung and Freud to drive her argument home, but does so without bogging readers down with too much detail or explanation.

But before you get too excited, I’d like to point out a few annoying aspects of the book. The last two chapters, to be more specific, are very fragmented and have conflicting messages that clash with Morissette’s overall message. In chapter seven, for example, the author tells readers that women need to empower themselves, yet a few pages later she tells readers to “buy yourself some pretty lingerie,” “wear something soft and pretty to bed” and “get your teeth whitened,” as if these things have anything to do with empowerment or self-love. In fact, there’s a whole list of strangely superficial things women should do to feel better about themselves. Chapter seven was disappointing, to say the least, and it put a big wet blanket on the credibility of the book.

Despite the strangeness of chapter seven and some oddly fragmented content of chapter eight, I still enjoyed The Emotional Edge. I’d recommend this book to someone trying to let go of their past in an effort to build a healthier lifestyle and communication strategy. And even though I didn’t read anything mind-blowing, I did walk away feeling like I’d made some progress towards a ‘healthier me.’ I also appreciated the guided meditation exercises, personality quizzes, and the author’s insistence that we can change seemingly-set behavioral patterns in our lives, so long as we put in the work.

Overall, I’d say The Emotional Edge is worth reading if you’re looking for a few low-key, do-it-yourself exercises to get to a healthier, happier place in life. My only caveat: I’d skip the last two chapters and do some meditating, instead.

Happy Reading, everyone!

(BTW: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. Just thought you should know …)