What Are You Waiting For?

17707883Title: What Are You Waiting For?
Author: Kristen Moeller
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I like the author’s story a lot and would have loved this as a memoir, but the attempt at being a self-help book really didn’t work for me.

I find this book difficult to describe because I disagree with the book cover description. Purportedly, this is a book about how to change your life instead of waiting for your life to change. In reality, it largely focuses on the author’s own challenges throughout her life, from early drug addiction and bulimia to her recent loss of her house in a wildfire. She reframes many of these challenges as ways in which she was waiting for something. She also includes thought-provoking questions that challenge the reader to apply the lessons she’s learned to their own life.

When the author was describing her story, I loved her writing. Her word choices were intelligent, original, and emotive. I felt for her even though her life story was nothing like mine. Some of the challenges she struggled with, particularly within her relationship with her husband, felt universal enough that her advice could be helpful to anyone. Her questions for the reader were thought-provoking and could encourage people to think about their life in a new way. As a memoir, I think this book had great potential.

Unfortunately, when she started to give advice, her writing started to include more cliches. Her attempts to relate each challenge back to the idea of waiting for change felt a bit forced. Often, unless you’d been through her specific situation, I didn’t feel her advice would be helpful. She never gave scientific backing for her advice. It was all based on personal experience, which seems most useful to me if people want to feel less alone in a particular challenge. If your house had just burned down, reading about the ways she deals with it and the ways in which she still struggles with it could provide a much-needed companionship in a difficult time. If you’re looking for an interesting personal story or if, heaven forbid, your house just burnt down, this might be the book for you. If you’re someone who just wants a self-help book about how to better seize the day, I would seize a different book.

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5 Comments

Filed under Memoir, non-fiction, Self-Help

5 Responses to What Are You Waiting For?

  1. I think I have already mentioned that I am never one for non-fiction books. I don’t know why but maybe the preaching vibe doesn’t really work for me. Or maybe it’s because I am reading because I want to escape for a while.

    I am sorry that this book didn’t really served its purpose… I mean with not really offering well grounded advice.

    Great review, Katie! I hope your next non-fiction read will be much better and of course, will really offer effective help.

    • I actually avoided contemporary for the same reason for a long time. I felt like something that could realistically happen was less of an escape than a fantasy novel :) Lately though I’ve started to get into to contemporary and I really love narrative non-fiction, which often reads like a story with as much drama as any fiction. Take Henry VIII for example!

      I think I might be burnt out on self-help for a while. I read this one because I accepted it to review but I wasn’t especially in the mood. Which is good, perhaps, since it did end up feeling more like a memoir :)

  2. Pingback: Non-Fiction Friday | Doing Dewey

  3. Well. I’ve never battled bulimia, lost a house to a fire, nor battled drug addiction so I think I’ll skip this one. Plus, I already read Lean In and it sounds kind of similar.
    Allison @ The Book Wheel recently posted…‘Lost Memory’ Is a Social Commentary on Sex Offenders and HomelessnessMy Profile

    • Oh dear, nowhere near as good as Lean In, for sure. The advice seemed far less generally applicable and the author was also less qualified to be offering general advice, I think.

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