Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Book of the Month Selection {Book Review}

book review of Wild Game a book of the month selection for September 2019.

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Book Summary:

“On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.

Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.”

Publication Date:

October 15th, 2019

Genre:

Memoir

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

(You can find my referral link to Wild Game HERE

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur is a memoir that details the complicated and dysfunctional relationship Brodeur experienced with her mother, Malabar. This cycle spans several decades and although there is the storyline of how Brodeur became entangled in her mother’s affair, it wasn’t the most powerful part of this book for me.

What really spoke to me was how much this story shared the challenges of cycles repeating themselves in families. These complexities can continue to pass on generation after generation and Brodeur truly shows how hard dysfunction can be to break. The writing detailing how she confronted her past is raw and full of emotions and whether you can relate to this story or not, this is not a book to be missed.

Brodeur shares vividly, the complexities of their mother/daughter relationship and how it has affected her from her childhood to now during middle-age. Whether it is in romantic relationships or the relationships she has with her own children, it heavily impacts her to this day.

Brodeur reflects so honestly about how challenging it was as she began to distance herself from Malabar as an adult. While she knew her relationship wasn’t “normal” or healthy, it was hard not to fall back into the paths which had been ingrained in her family for so long.

While this book wasn’t easy to read at times, I appreciated that it wasn’t black or white and Brodeur is able to look at this deeply conflicted relationship with humanity and empathy. I stopped and reread sections of the book because the reflections on the journey of finding herself while batting the undercurrent of her family dynamics were so insightful.

I also appreciated that she recounted the impact the other people in her life had had on her and her ability to move forward. Brodeur’s ability to share such introspection and poignant details amidst the difficulties she endured made this book what it was and it won’t be one I will ever forget.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett | Celadon Books | Book Review

Unlocking the power of emotions

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Book Summary:

“Marc Brackett is a professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center and founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. In his 25 years as an emotion scientist, he has developed a remarkably effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults – a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help, rather than hinder, our success and well-being. The core of his approach is a legacy from his childhood, from an astute uncle who gave him permission to feel. He was the first adult who managed to see Marc, listen to him, and recognize the suffering, bullying, and abuse he’d endured. And that was the beginning of Marc’s awareness that what he was going through was temporary. He wasn’t alone, he wasn’t stuck on a timeline, and he wasn’t “wrong” to feel scared, isolated, and angry. Now, best of all, he could do something about it.

In the decades since, Marc has led large research teams and raised tens of millions of dollars to investigate the roots of emotional well-being. His prescription for healthy children (and their parents, teachers, and schools) is a system called RULER, a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions that have already transformed the thousands of schools that have adopted it. RULER has been proven to reduce stress and burnout, improve school climate, and enhance academic achievement. This book is the culmination of Marc’s development of RULER and his way to share the strategies and skills with readers around the world. It is tested, and it works.

This book combines rigor, science, passion, and inspiration in equal parts. Too many children and adults are suffering; they are ashamed of their feelings and emotionally unskilled, but they don’t have to be. Marc Brackett’s life mission is to reverse this course, and this book can show you how.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

Genre:

Self-Help/Parenting

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

Permission to Feel is a wonderful guide to recognizing our own emotions and those of others. Author Marc Brackett has spent years researching this important topic after his experiences as a child showed him how life-changing it was to have someone see, listen and truly recognize the things you have gone through as an individual.

While Brackett has spent decades studying this important topic, he presents the information in this book in an attainable and accessible manner for his readers. The first part of this book dives into how understanding emotions and determining their sources can help us influence our behaviors moving forward. When we understand where and why we are feeling a certain way, we can regulate our own emotions instead of them regulating us. The more we know the more we can find practical strategies for dealing with what we feel and why we be might feeling that way.

Brackett shares that emotions are a powerful source of information. He shares that when we become “emotion scientists” we can learn how to use our emotions wisely, even when they are challenging emotions. Learning how to use them instead of ignoring them can help our figure out our steps forward.

Both physical and emotional symptoms can help us identify our feeling so we can respond appropriately. Feelings are strengths we all have when we learn how to label and understand them. When we can better understand both ourselves and each other, more people are able to be their best most authentic selves. “Emotional skills are the key to unlocking the potential inside each one of us.” Highly recommend!!

Thank you to Celadon Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff | Dutton | Book Review

Jennifer Pastiloff book review

On Being Human by Jen Pastiloff

Book Summary:

“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.

Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”   

Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”

Publication Date:

June 4th, 2019

Genre:

Memoir

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.

I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.

I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.

Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.

I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.

“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”

“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”

Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.