Sunday, June 15, 2008

Helping Me Help Myself

by Beth Lisick

For some reason, I thought this book got a bad review. When I checked the review-a-day on the Powell's website, however, it was a positive review. In any case, I can sort of see why some reviewers may have dissed it — but I totally disagree with them if they did.

When's the last time a book made you laugh out loud? When's the last time a book made you laugh so hard you were in tears and almost peed yourself? The author's sense of humor is not for everyone, but I really connected with her deeply ingrained sarcasm. It's as if she stole my own sense of humor.

In this book about a year-long attempt at self-improvement, the author pulls off an odd combination of cynicism and earnestness. She mocks, even as she makes a good-faith effort to follow the advice of ten self-help gurus. Hilarity ensues, as do some actual life lessons; happily, the lessons do not overwhelm the funniness, since this book is more about the self-help experience than the help itself.

The funniest chapters are "Shape Up and Ship Out," in which the author goes on a truly inspiring Richard Simmons cruise, and "A Place for Everything (Is Not the Basement)," in which the author consults an organization expert and confronts her life-long lack of organization.

My moon is in Virgo, so I was especially tickled by the organization chapter. Favorite quote: "I never thought I could get satisfaction from snapping a lid onto a plastic container that houses Hot Wheels and Hot Wheels only."

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