After surviving a difficult heartbreak and battle with cancer, Australian journalist Julia Baird began launched an exploration of how she and others persevere through the most challenging circumstances life throws at us. And she returned with a guide for others who are going through their own dark periods.
The...compilation of contemplative essays is hard to categorize, a heady and poignant combination of self-help, memoir, and scholarly enlightenment. A popular Australian broadcaster, journalist, and author, Baird brings a shimmering intimacy to a universal condition, a beacon of light that both blazes with intensity and bathes with comforting reassurance.
Her writing on her experiences with cancer is truly heartbreaking. She touches on these experiences only briefly, although the beginning of the book indicates that it deals with her life's dark periods as an overarching motif. As a result, it can be difficult to see where the writing leads to; Baird discusses instead the activism of her youth, letters to her son and daughter, and her time living in places around the world. This, paired with her beginning section on awe, wonder, and silence, which seemed more scientifically centered, does not synthesize into a unified book ... the book lacks cohesiveness and is a convoluted read overall.
... emotional, introspective ... Baird skillfully intertwines her personal journey with some research and scientific data, constructing a backdrop for these reflections that readers can apply to their own journeys. It’s impossible to read this book and not sense a shift in one’s thinking about happiness, joy, and a range of other emotions. Graceful, expressive meditations on many of life’s intangibles.