Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman- A Book Review

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When Alice Hoffman was diagnosed with cancer she had two young children and an ailing mother. One of her novels, Practical Magic was being made into a movie and another Here on Earth had been selected as part of Oprah’s Book Club- it seems cancer doesn’t care how busy, important or famous you are. So when Alice turned to books for advice on how to cope she ended up writing one herself- a letter to herself and a tribute to all survivors who have loved and lost.

” I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.”

Survival Lessons is a guidebook for all of us -not just the ones suffering from a illness, trauma or loss, but also the ones slogging through a daily life that lacks contentment or joy. A lot of us are in a ‘survival mode’ that serves merely as a modus operandi for making it from one day to to the next, putting out one fire and looking out for the next. The simple pleasures of life are pushed aside for something more important.

Each chapter in Survival Lessons offers a choice- a chance to focus on yourself for a bit, to discover your needs and wants. You can Choose to Enjoy Yourself, Choose Whose Advice you Take, Choose to Be Yourself.

Survival Lessons is ideal for a quick, light read that anyone- even the most stressed- can find the time for, to read all at once and return to again and again. It’s simplicity is it’s greatest benefit, allowing the reader to use the book as an inspiration for your own meditations on what makes you happy-what brings you peace or joy, and what is healing to your soul- leading you beyond mere ‘survival’ to ‘truly living’.

Find out more about Survival Lessons at Algonquin Books and find out more about Alice Hoffman at her website

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