Yesterday, very shortly after posting my “Dear Author’s…” rant, I was contacted by Heather Wardell, (one of my favorite authors.) “Read Planning to Live” she said, throwing down her personal shiny gauntlet; challenging me to NOT connect with her characters. So I did. I pulled out my kindle, loaded the book and started reading, unfortunately…after 1 paragraph I remembered what the book was about and freaked. I picked up my Kindle, shoved it into my bag and quickly left the room. I then sprinted to the bathroom (of a very large, very busy car dealership) and proceeded to splash water on my face for the next 10 minutes urging myself to calm down.
See, among other things “Planning To Live” was about a woman struggling to overcome her obsession with weight and learn to live her life. Under “normal circumstances” this would not have been an issue for me, however on Tuesday (a day that most of you noticed (through twitter) was not so peachy for me) I was told by a co-worker that “if you don’t start walking you’re going to die because you’re fat.” (*sigh)
For 2 days these words had been running rampant through my head, digging a Grand Canyon sized hole in my (otherwise) rock solid self-esteem. So when my brain registered that I was about to read a book that doted on the one thing that had been making me a large lump of sadness for days I was (admittedly) terrified to continue.
Today, however, I broke down my barrier and decided to read the novel; figuring that it couldn’t make me feel any worse than I already did. Surprisingly, I feel better about myself today than I have in years, and I owe 100% of it to this train wreck (in a good way) of a read.
Rhiannon is not a confident woman. Obsessed (like most women) with her weight she does irrational things, like fleeing her parents Christmas dinner for fear of over-eating. Unfortunately her decision to run away only gets her into more trouble. Realizing she has made a huge mistake (by misjudging the severity of the weather) she tries to turn around, but in the processes loses control of her car and slams into a tree. Trapped and bleeding on the side of a deserted road she starts to think about her life. The good, the bad AND the extremely ugly. With her phone out of reach but her laptop close at hand she does the only thing she can think of. She writes letters. Letters of apology. Letters of love, and most importantly letters of encouragement. Will Rhiannon live long enough to give away her letters, or will she parish… leaving behind the lessons she learned… just a little too late?
I do not want to pull this book apart, talking about its ups and downs (to me) would be disrespectful to it’s lesson. What I WILL tell you is how remarkable it is. I am confident that if you were to walk into a bookstore right now and purchased a “self-help” book on “how to live your life to it’s fullest,” it wouldn’t hold a candle to “Planning To Live.” With the help of an expertly plotted story, and characters that grab your gut, I learned that self perception can be deceiving, that the journey is the goal, and that putting off tomorrow what you can do today will ALWAYS have consequences. I discovered that all of us have flaws, that even the most beautiful of us have insecurities, and at the end of the day, whether your are covered head to toe in your most expensive outfit, or lounging in your pajamas.. that someone, somewhere, thinks you are the most beautiful person in the world.
So this is what I want from you. Though I think men could benefit from this read (it would give you the inside scoop into how women see themselves) I think it is absolutely IMPERATIVE that EVERY woman I know, read this book immediately. If it doesn’t change your life it will at least leave one hell of a dent.
Get it, LIVE IT, love it…pass it on!
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember, Life is not always about the BIG events…make the small ones count too.
Click image for complete details.