The Second Journey
The Road Back to Yourself
From the bestselling author of A Year by the Sea, this memoir is a coming-of-age story for every woman who has asked herself: "Now what?"
The Second Journey chronicles Anderson's quest to restore equilibrium to her life after the responsibilities of being a mother, wife, grandmother, caretaker, and bestselling author distract her -- almost dangerously -- from taking care of herself. Suffused with Anderson's characteristic humor and warmth, this book is a permission slip for any woman who seeks to step out of line and create her own destiny.
As Joan shares her stories of balancing love, marriage, family, parents, and spirituality, she inspires and instructs readers to find peace and a unique purpose within their own lives. She offers reassurance that the best is yet to come, and empowers other women to come of age in the middle of life.
After the publication of her first book of self-transformation (A Year by the Sea) in 1999, Anderson writes of being consumed by a pressing schedule and a web of family cares that have derailed her from her original trajectory of self-truth. While her first journey consisted of separating herself from a previous life that had defined her as compliant and dependent (a wife and mother), her current journey involves taking stock of the progress and strengths gained in the previous 10 years. She attempted to get back on track by discounting "counterfeit journeys" (such as illusory ambition), refusing to be blackmailed by her ailing mother and resisting the urge to join her grown children's already-charged households over Christmas. Instead, she found sustenance in weekend seminars with other women; a pilgrimage to Monomoy, Cape Cod; and a magical three-week stint to the island of Iona, Scotland. Self-help platitudes abound, as Anderson quotes her mentor Joan Erikson ("The most important thing is to share what you know"), and her similes grow tiresome (she compares herself to a tangled, empty lobster trap). For readers eager for more, though, she does drop hints of marital discord and of leaving her journey unfinished.