Saturday, February 16, 2019

Weekend Review: This Messy Magnificent Life

"It's as if we slide back and forth between the desire for more (love, earrings, experiences) and fear that we will lose what we already have." ~Geneen Roth, This Messy Magnificent Life

Cindy La Ferle

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Even before I finished the first chapter, I knew I'd want to share This Messy Magnificent Life with friends. I'm planning to purchase several copies to give as gifts, in fact, which is the best recommendation I could give any book I've reviewed. By the time I got to the final paragraph, I was seriously tempted to phone author Geneen Roth to explain that we're possibly twins separated at birth. 

Roth wrote this book for women exactly like me -- women who should be counting their blessings, yet can't quite shake the feeling that there's something else to fix or one more thing to worry about. I kept a highlighter handy as I read it, nodding in agreement and sometimes laughing aloud while I underscored quotable lines. 
As the author suggests, finding inner peace is entirely possible wherever you are -- no matter how screwed up things seem to be. 
Each chapter in This Messy Magnificent Life reads like a stand-alone essay, covering topics such as aging and body image; facing crisis and loss; health and weight issues; managing stress, and other challenges. While there are countless personal-growth guides that address similar issues, this one doesn't advise you to "fix" anything. As Roth points out, real life isn't a problem to be solved, nor is self-improvement another "project" to add to your list. Finding inner peace is possible wherever you are -- no matter how screwed up things seem to be. 

But what makes this book stand out from the rest is Roth's voice. Deftly combining humor with profound insight, she leaves readers feeling validated and uplifted -- even when she's sharing her darkest moments. Roth is best known for several best-selling memoirs about emotional overeating and weight problems. (The topic resurfaces in this book, too.) She and her husband lost their life savings in the Madoff debacle but somehow managed to survive -- the subject of another Roth best-seller.

"Freedom from mental suffering is not a mystery, but a willingness to examine what keeps us from directly experiencing the deep-blue peace and quiet joy that are always accessible and forever unaffected by the passing show," she writes. 

It's a terrific read for nerve-wracking times -- right now. ~Cindy La Ferle


  1. Yes, thank you, Cindy! I need to get this book this week. The topics are timely for me too, and I've been hesitant to say any of it out loud. I recognized the author from your description - her book Women, Food, and God is terrific!

    1. You'll really like this one, Sharon! Good to hear from you!