From Dr. Phil to the Fly Lady??A level-headed, laugh-out-loud tour of the loopy world of self-help.?( Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood and If You?ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything)
Jennifer Niesslein has an okay life. But, dogged by a sense of dissatisfaction and a yearning for something she can?t quite name, she embarks on a two-year experiment, taking all manner of self-help advice? from housecleaning to marital to spiritual?in an effort to become a better, happier person. What Niesslein learns is that the road to self-help Nirvana is fraught with peril. She also discovers that there is such a thing as the good life?it?s just a question of how perfect you have to be to get it.
Impelled by Oprah to wonder if people can really control their own destinies, Brain, Child magazine cofounder Niesslein binges on the advice of bestselling self-help books. She delves into feng shui expert Karen Kingston's decluttering tips and techniques to spiritually cleanse the home using bells and holy water. She explores the genius of relationships maven Dr. Laura Schlessinger at pushing the right emotional buttons (is Niesslein guilty of making her husband feel he's not a priority in her life?). The self-improvement experts can't help Niesslein expel her stubborn six-year-old from the bed he's been happily sharing with his parents; Dale Carnegie's and Dear Abby's advice on cultivating friends and becoming popular make her feel both superficial and exhausted; and Jorge Cruise's eight-minute exercise workout is "like throwing a few lima beans in a hot fudge sundae." Although she touches on hot spots that concern most readers family, home, health and finances the self-help book angle feels contrived and stale, the jokey self-deprecation forced and some of Niesslein's analyses are tedious, such as a chapter on financial freedom that devolves into a primer on Roth IRAs and mutual funds.