Monday, May 9, 2016

Loving My Actual Life by: Alexandra Kuykendall

In life, there is the ideal: fulfilling work, thriving relationships, financial security. Not to mention an orderly and beautiful home and children who never misbehave. And then there’s reality: frustrations, illness, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. We can wait around for our circumstances to change and in the process miss the goodness right in front of us. Or we can choose to love our actual lives, right here and now.
Excerpt from back of book

Loving my actual Life doesn't follow the traditional life growth, how-to format. Instead, Alexandra Kuykendall invites readers to journey along with her as she journals a 9 month experiment to better living in the life and responsibilities she currently has. Each chapter focuses on a single area of growth be it practical such as organization or less concrete like passion or adventure. Including an entry from each day of the experiment, Alexandra is honest in both the successes and less fruitful ins and outs of her journey while inviting readers to consider their own lives.

I'm honestly a bit torn on the book. While I enjoy life growth and the topics Alexandra focuses on (honestly it was nice to hear a mom talking about the necessity of creativity and passion after kids) and I'm also finding myself more intrigued and the storytelling power of the stream of thought, intimate style of writing which seems to be gaining popularity, I'm not entirely sure how to merge the two in my own brain.

I recognize part of my struggle was my own mentality. I went in looking for something a bit more cut and dried (from the experiment in the title) but found something more true to life. A lot of twists, turns, and flips as the author navigated life in all its messy, organic glory. 
This can be a strength if you're ready and looking for it and once I found that readers groove (it took a few chapters) I found the book to read much more strongly.

In the end, I'm not sure all readers will be able to engage with this style of writing, pick out the lessons, and reflectively see how it could apply to their own lives. The writing is so organic and true to life and I've known many who struggle with that. However, I think most moms can read this and see a glimpse of self and take encouragement from the realization of community and journeying together.

3.5 stars out of 5

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."