Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini Reviews (Part 3)

Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't (Dr Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend)

I have no idea, honestly, how to sum this book up.  A friend suggested it to me back in September of last year, I resisted, eventually ordered it, and spent several of my late fall bus reading sessions working my way through it.  In the last few weeks I've taken the time to go back through, reading the parts I marked in the fall, and making notes, taking note of what struck me at the time I first read it, and why it struck me then, and how those things were sitting with me now.  It was a relatively easy read, in the sense of being a book that is not technical, but easy to understand and apply.  It was not at all an easy read in that, for me, it spoke deeply, convicting, challenging me, speaking into questions and parts of my life that were very much relevant and helpful.  If you are asking questions about friendships, or other relationships, or have experienced a number of less than healthy ones, I really can't recommend this book enough.  The development of safe, healthy relationships has been something I've struggled with, often choosing profoundly unhealthy and even abusive relationships because I was desperately seeking to be loved and accepted.   The book explored not only what makes a relationship safe or unsafe, but also the reasons that can contribute to choosing unsafe relationships. I found this book to be profoundly helpful as I worked through some difficult relational issues, made some hard decisions, and ultimately believe it has contributed to me moving towards a far more healthy place.  I may have to come back and talk about it at length at some point in the future.

Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language (Katherine Russell Rich)

To be honest, this book was a disappointment.  It seemed like my dream book - a memoir about travel and learning a new language and culture, while incorporating ideas from linguistics about the process of language acquisition, and exploring the changes on the world stage following 9/11.  (The author, a native New Yorker, landed in India to begin her year of language school, just days before 9/11.)  Everything that I'm theoretically fascinated with, all rolled up into one book.  Unfortunately, it fell short.  It read like a disjointed stream of consciousness, moving back and forth from linguistic theory to personal anecdote, and I felt like there was never anything to grasp on to.  In many ways, it felt aimless, as if it really was a dream, drifting and wandering without ever particularly arriving at a conclusion.  The characters were vague, in fact the author herself seemed vague about the impact of this year on her psyche.  There was no conclusion, no definitive timeline to follow, no way to keep the progression of events straight.  I can't say I'd recommend this one to anyone.