The Gifts of Imperfection is a total Paris Hilton of a book: famous for being famous, but there’s no substance to it. If the biggest challenges you face in life are akin to the “shame” of arriving late for your daughter’s school play, and if you can find comfort in a couple of women patting you on the back saying “it’s all right dear, once I forgot to bake cookies for my son”…. then maybe you’ll find wisdom in this heavy dose of nauseating, mommy-soaked, goody-goody, goddy-goddy saccharine. Also, all the cutesie mommy-kiddy stories irritated me. What are you, some 21st century Stepford wife? Is this what feminism has come to?
OK, I didn’t get very far in this book, but judging from the reviews I’ve read it doesn’t improve. I really wanted to like it. I was drawn by the title and her TEDtalk is extremely popular (I couldn’t stomach that either). I do have issues with feeling imperfect (and no, not because I forgot to bake cookies). So I was hoping for at least a couple of nuggets to chew on.
This book is clearly in the cheerleading category of self-help, rather than the psychotherapeutic. If you want some mild encouragement and some cute quotes to put on your fridge door, maybe this is for you. If you are struggling with darker issues, you probably won’t find answers here.
I don’t generally post my 1-star reviews on this blog because I want to help people find good books to read, not waste their time reading about bad books. But this book gets recommended so much, I thought I’d give fair warning if you’re thinking about reading it. To the author, if you’re reading this review, I’m [a bit] sorry if it hurts your feelings, but the whole industry that’s grown out of this kinda gets my back up (so I guess I’m not really sorry).
There are way too many ra-ra blah-blah books about Courage and Compassion and Mindfulness and living from the heart etc. etc. Life is often a bit more complicated than that. Get something real to worry about.
If you think I’m being just bitter and twisted, read some of the 270+ 1-star reviews on Amazon. They’re entertaining, at least!! To quote just a few reactions:
“completely unrealistic and useless”
“fluffy and self indulgent”
“clichéd motivational quotes”
The Narcissist You Know. Joseph Burgo wrote an excellent book about shame, but I haven’t written a review of it yet. He also wrote this wonderful book about narcissism.
If you’re looking for self-help lite, you can find The Gifts of Imperfection on Amazon and at other bookstores.