Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson © 2006     About Me

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Overcoming Life's Disappointments
by Harold S. Kushner
Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN 1-4000-4057-4
Published August 2006 - Hardcover - 179 pages - $21.95

On the New York Times Bestsellers list almost from the moment it hit bookstore shelves, this book hasn't been easy to get from my library.  I hadn't read Harold Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" so I hadn't a clue as to his work.  This book is about overcoming things that get you down in life and is along the lines of Moses' life and his overcoming disappointments and struggles.  Yes, the Bible Moses.  His life wasn't a bowl of cherries but he moved from one crisis to another and made it.  We all have dreams, hopes, goals, and desires, but that doesn't mean we'll achieve them all.  (Again, as I've said before, we cannot be whatever we want to be, and neither can we have whatever we want to have - I wish people would stop promoting this inaccurate philosophy to children - there'd be a lot less disappointed and letdown people.  Along the way we're going to face the fact that there are many things we're not going to attain, and how we accept this is key to retaining our sanity.  How we react and that we take responsibility (and care) of our actions will help us become stronger.)  To look with both eyes and see all, not just what we want to see, to help others, and to know yourself, is half the battle won.  There will always be something to upset your apple cart, and my belief is not to set your sights too high in the first place and you'll have fewer disappointments and more surprises.  This is not to say you mustn't dream - that would be foolish, for we all need to dream.  Kushner's words make sense and make one feel that things aren't the big disappointments they think they are, and that we grow from hardship.  I think, and know, if we don't know hardship, we don't know life.  I now understand and appreciate my failures and disappointments much better.  Something I found particularly poignant was, "The hard way to learn that most of the disappointments in your life are relatively trivial, the hard way to learn the difference between tragedy and inconvenience, is to have something really serious happen to you.  The difference will be unmistakable."
Conclusion - Enormously uplifting and comforting, and a book everyone should read.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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