Help Me! by Marianne Power was everything! It literally felt like I made a new friend with Marianne Power. Like I was just sitting having a drink and chatting it up with her. I found myself laughing out loud in almost every chapter of Help Me! If you have been with me for a while, then you know that I do not like books with long chapters, and this book has very long chapters. However, the way Marianne shares her self help story with us, it’s just so hard to put the book down. I chose this book all on my own and I have to say… It was a good pick.
Marianne Power fills us in on her journey to read 12 self help books in 12 months. Her goal was to actually follow through with what each book was suggesting to do. If you have never felt the need to reach for a self help book in your life, then I congratulate you! And I’m probably a bit jealous of you too! I personally connected with this book for the simple fact that I too went through a ‘self help’ period. A period where I was trying to do exactly what Marianne portrayed in her book. However, I never got as far as she did, maybe didn’t even make it past three books. Why? Give Marianne’s book a read and then you may understand why I did not get very far.
Marianne, like most people that read self help books, was looking for some improvements in her life. For her, this meant seeking the ‘perfect her’. To her, this meant the perfect job, the perfect amount of money in the bank, the perfect body, the perfect love and social life.
I also had this epiphany some time ago, where I didn’t feel perfect and nothing in my life was going the way I wanted, all because of that feeling of imperfection. So I thought, just like Marianne did, why not read some books and figure out how to achieve this perfect life. Well, soon enough, I realized, like Marianne explains in Help Me!, that changing your life from what you know is not as easy as just reading a book. She describes her experience as “a sixteen month rollercoaster.” I unfortunately was not able to hold on for the ride like she did.
I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “your fear is what is holding you back.” Marianne starts with her first book, which involved facing some of her fears. What she discovers is that we have a fear of things that we casually avoid in our everyday lives, like parallel parking on a busy street, but we also have major fears that are locked away, like confronting why you have a feeling of inadequacy because you aren’t married with kids at 37 years old. In conquering some of her everyday fears, she did in fact gain some sense of confidence from her first book, but not enough confidence to attend to the fears that were locked away deep down.
No one takes you seriously…
When one chooses to start a journey of self discovery or self improvement, it’s usually because they are unhappy with themselves or where they are in life. This means it’s usually a pretty serious process, however, those around you that may not understand you, may tend to not take you seriously. Marianne describes how that felt for her, how isolated it made her feel that no one could really understand why she was doing all of this. To everyone around her, there was nothing that she needed to change about herself. It’s so easy for people to say things like “it will come” or “be patient.” It is funny that I always hear that from the people who already naturally possess what I am fighting so hard to achieve.
Feeling Like A Failure…
“The higher I was setting my standards, the more I was feeling like a failure.” Here is the thing with self help books, just in case you’ve never read one, once you get into some of these books, you realize just how inadequate you are in the department you are trying to improve. The intention is great, but I somehow always come out of it feeling worse because the bar was set higher than I had expected before reading the book, or reading of someone else’s success. I have this feeling about Marianne as I read through her experiences with each book she chose. She has these highs and then very low lows, because let’s be real… If this was all easy for everyone, there would be no market for these self help books.
Marianne focuses a lot on the fact that she is over 30 and single. She shares her private thoughts with us about this, of yet again…inadequacy. Of course she has to get into a self help book to find love. I found it interesting that Marianne’s insecurities with men were based mostly on her physical appearance. The self help book she references, focuses mainly on conversational interaction with men. Marianne, by the way, is a journalist, and definitely has a way with words, however she doesn’t explicitly make this connection about herself in her book. She does discover though, that once she turns off that negative voice in her head, that things seem to turn around for her. I have to wonder then, what hope is there for us single 30-somethings, with negative voices and the inability to have a witty conversation? Can someone recommend a book for this?
In the end..
I won’t tell you what happens in the end for Marianne, but I will say that this book spoke to me as I related with her demons, with her trials and with her desire to change. Did I become a changed person from reading this book? Probably not. But what it did for me was let me know that I am not crazy, that other people have the same thoughts I have, and in time I might be able to find my peace and acceptance with myself. This book validated the idea that “digging deep” is in fact a very hard and scary thing to do. I think Marianne took us through a very hard time of her life and did so in a very light hearted and comedic way. I mean what other way is there to go through life?
Have you read Help Me! By Marianne Power? If so I would love to hear what you thought of it… drop me a line. Any more book recommendations for me? Drop me a line in the comments.
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