Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fiction Meets Self Help

I've read my share of self-help books over the years.
Like many others, I've turned to "Smart Women, Foolish Choices," "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" and "The New Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are" to explain away my crisis du jour.
But I had never read what amounted to a combo self-help/fiction work until this weekend.
Sheilah Vance's "Land Mines"(ISBN 9780978685416)unfolds as a diary kept by the newly separated Carolyn James. With each entry, we learn a little bit more about this woman coming to terms with her new life as a single mom. Even those not going through this particular struggle can identify with her financial worries, concerns about her children's emotions and her fears about the future.
James turns to several self-help books herself in her quest (all of which are real works). And like many books that include discussion questions at the end for book clubs, this one featured questions to ask yourself to avoid some of the land mines James encountered.
All in all, "Land Mines" was a quick and entertaining read, but I prefer my messages to be a little more subtle.
- Tricia Ambrose

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