Hate is a strong word. I’m thinking of it here because originally, when I read this book, I hated it. Ouch, right? Yes, it’s a strong word and in this case, misplaced.
Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff (with Carol Kline) is not a bad book. I was in a bad place when I read it, though.
I was annoyed by the book for several reasons, not the least of which was the whole positive-thinking cloak it’s… uh… cloaked in. I mention I read it during a rough time, which my readers will recognize as 2014. I was in a very, very low time in my life, to be clear. Which… brings up a very good point. When you’re in emotional and physical pain and your head is in someone else’s lane, can you even read a book like this? Are you able to extrapolate the good? Surely, reading about death, dying and mayhem can’t be a wise choice? Right?
Happy for No Reason was suggested by a therapist I was seeing at the time. Oh, wait. I have to stop and say… my regular therapist was unavailable to me because our insurance had stopped covering her services and I was out of work. I received a referral to a “covered” therapist from the insurance company. They sent me to a woman who was so unremarkable, I can’t remember her name (or her face or anything besides where she was located). From the moment I entered her office, the clock started ticking… and I was given 40 minutes twice a week for three weeks, no extensions given. Must hurry!
Basically, she said that I could heal myself with all the work I’ve done and the self-help books I’d accumulated. Um, okay, if you say so. She said so. It was “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out,” as I walked away from that last visit (#6) with a recommendation for this book in my sweaty little palm. So, yeah. Maybe it was the whole experience… along with my mindset at the time. It honestly felt like “Same ol’, same ol'” BS I’d read ad nauseam already.
Actually, in going back through the book to write today, I noticed a lot of neat exercises, true-life stories, charts, a comic or two and interesting tidbits about neurotransmitters, and such. The cover says it was a New York Times Bestseller, so obviously it’s not some crap-on-a-stick. Do they score points for mentioning Shimoff is also a featured teacher in The Secret? Um *shrug* maybe?
As you can tell, I’m still a little conflicted. I don’t like this feeling. I so respect anyone who puts their work out there… publishes a book… and heck, gets it on the NYTimes Best Seller list. I mean, that’s not nothing, know what I mean?
Still, when you read a quote like, “You have to do it by yourself, And you can’t do it alone.” (credited to Martin Rutte, corporate consultant and speaker, and shared in this book) you have to lean back in your chair and think about it for a moment. Perhaps you think, “Man, that’s deep!” – OR, perhaps? – “What the hell are they talking about?” That’s kind of how I felt all the way through. I don’t like it. But there you have it. Sorry, folks!