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 …)

book review: big magic

I’ve already decided, folks, that I refuse to be a languishing, suffering writer. And I refuse to be an author who lives in poverty in order to”stay true to the arts.” I won’t link my craft to my worst attributes or habits, either (sorry Plath and Poe, I just don’t have the energy …) For some reason, though, a lot of aspiring writers do things just like this all the time. They strap all sorts of pressure and bad juju onto their creative backs and walk around like sad hunchbacks. But thank goodness for us, in her book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear,” Elizabeth Gilbert convinces writers to let all that nonsense go and allow yourself to fall back in love with the process, not the outcome, of following your creativity.

Gilbert’s “Big Magic” is an easy-to-read, non-fiction book that falls into the categories of inspirational and self-help reads.  Interestingly, the book is separated into chapters which focus on emotional principles that readers should pay attention to while engaged in the creative process. A few examples are trust, courage, and persistence, each of which has a chapter devoted to understanding how to use these traits to allowing yourself to develop a healthy relationship with creativity and inspiration.

Now I must admit here, that when I started reading this book, I was a little afraid that it would be too similar in content and style to other books that I’d recently read in the same category (like The Desire Map). I could not have been more wrong about that, though, and here’s why: “Big Magic” is a vastly unique book. In the text, Gilbert focuses on a few key points: you must learn to recognize when creativity and inspiration are knocking on your door, and then you must cultivate your relationship with them by working diligently, every day, towards your chosen passion.

In the pages of “Big Magic,” Gilbert explains to writers, painters, or artists of any kind, really, that the beauty of creativity lies in your process and daily practice, not in your outcome. Gilbert writes that you should let yourself fall in love with creativity and inspiration, have an affair with them if you want, and at the very least, cherish them, rather than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to “produce” or be “successful.” Instead, just enjoy your creative journey and appreciate the things you’re learning along the way. If you do this, Gilbert says, you’ll find a personal dedication towards, and trust in, your good ol’ buddy, creativity.

Overall, I was surprised and delighted by the message that Elizabeth Gilbert delivers in “Big Magic.” This book is incredibly readable and is written in a friendly, conversational tone that will, without a doubt, pull you into its pages and convince you to change the way you think about inspiration and creating. If you enjoy books that focus on positivity and living with a sense of purpose and dedication to creativity (like I am, all the way, baby), then this is definitely the book for you. It’s an amazing and quick read, and I highly, highly recommend it.

For more on Elizabeth Gilbert, visit her website

Happy reading!