Monday, November 18, 2013

Survival Lessons

Title:  Survival Lessons
Author:  Alice Hoffman
Publication Information:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Workman Publishing. 2013. 83 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a hardcover edition.

Favorite Quote:  "We all experience trauma and we all take a very personal path to healing on our own terms. But we're also alike in what we need most. Love really is the answer."

Survival Lessons, in the author's own words, is "what I would have most wanted to hear when I was newly diagnosed, when I lost the people I loved, when I was deeply disappointed in myself and the turns my life had taken." This slim volume is a list of lessons learned during the author's journey from being diagnosed with cancer to being a survivor.

Those lessons include:  Choose your heroes.  Choose to enjoy yourself. Choose your friends. Choose whose advice you take. ... Choose to be yourself. Choose to  share. Choose love. ...

For each lesson, Alice Hoffman describes what she means in a few pages. These lessons are not new. These lessons are not just for living through a life threatening illness but rather for the process of life itself. These lessons are not a set of directions but rather reminders on how to approach life.

For me, the most important lesson of all is that every single lesson begins with the word "choose." No matter what our circumstances, our thoughts and our approach is our choice.

The book has no table of contents. It can be read in its entirety in less than an hour. Each section can be read individually in a few minutes. The sepia colored paper and the monotone blue illustration lend to a feeling of calm throughout the book. Nothing really new, but sometimes new isn't necessary. A nice reminder to share with anyone going through a trying time.

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