90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1999
This is one of a handful of books I've read that changed the way I look at myself -- and another on that short list is Simple Abundance which I'm working through for the 3rd time as I write "morning pages" daily. This is NOT a sequel to SA -- in lots of ways it doesn't seem to be written by the same Sarah -- but by a more mature, more worldly wise, more "evolved" one. Repeatedly in my reading of SM, Sarah brought me to tears--because she knows me--and made me see myself much more clearly, made me face some issues I've ignored for 50+ years--and helped me see a path ahead. The margins are crammed with my notes to Sarah, to myself, to my past. A person who thinks this is only a book about how bad most men are couldn't have read with a woman's heart. Is there bitterness? Yes--life has its bitter spots, too. But is there hope? Darned right. And if a reader doesn't see the "gratitude" and "joy" in the message of this one, I'm sad for that reader. It's not a "ruffles and lace" book at all. It's a no holds barred look at life--with lots of real-life examples, many of which aren't pretty. On page 59, she writes, "Could there be anything more important than living without regrets?" I think the whole book is about HOW to live without regrets.
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 1999
Unlike many of the more recent reviewers here, I did not read "Simple Abundance" before I started the sequel. Also unlike many of the recent reviewers, I found "Something More" to be incredibly insightful, wonderfully written and a true gift FROM as well as TO the Soul.
I found the life stories within this book to be beautifully encouraging and inspiring, rather than depressing and anger-filled as several have noted. Life is an adventure, fraught with disappointment and sadness, as well as all the other "cozy" feelings we seek and need. And I, for one, am glad she didn't pull any punches and told things just as they are.
Excavating, searching, looking and definitely *finding* your Authentic Self takes a lot of courage. We all have it. THAT's what this book is all about and it gives us some concrete tools with which to do this. Thank you, Sarah, for daring to speak your Truth and helping so many of us along the way.
Read it. You won't regret it if you listen to your heart along the way.
118 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 1999
I am a nineteen-year-old college student. I have never been married, and currently have no prospects of doing so. I struggle through mid-terms. I live in a dormitory with a group of amazing friends, my second family. My life is hopelessly and joyously flawed.
When I finished reading Simple Abundance and returned it to my bookshelf with a satisfied sigh, I left it with a newly-found contentment and an insatiable hunger to be myself--whoever that ended up being. A family woman? A career gal? A chemist? A teacher? Suddenly, prestige (as it is defined by the world)did not matter, as long as I knew that I was doing what my true self was begging me to do.
When I came across Something More by accident, I bought it without hesitation, hoping for yet another shot of self-esteem booster. While the writing style is artful and refreshing, the content was a complete departure from what I had come to love in Simple Abundance. Since I have never known the pain of divorce, I felt that most of the book did not apply to me since break-ups, rather than authenticity, were the theme. I also felt that the book as a whole did not have the cohesiveness of the original; at some points, it just wandered.
If you are a woman who is trying to overcome a painful divorce, Something More may be just what you have been looking, but for those of you who are searching for more self-discovery, re-read Simple Abundance instead.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2000
I can't compare this one. I will say that I found this book to touch the core of my life as it is at this point. I'm approaching 50, though, and I'm not really sure it's a book for women under maybe 40! I found the anecdotes of women's lives and experiences to be reassuring in the sense that we need to know we're really not alone in how we feel as, what we experience as and how we approach being women. Sarah's approach to being a woman mirrors my discoveries for myself and the woman I'm becoming. While I didn't agree with everything, i.e. I don't believe in soul mates at this point, I did find her insights into our needs, dreams, anxieties, foibles and even "angers" to be dead on based on the woman I happen to be. At times I felt she was actually encouraging leaving relationships, but I must admit that since I'm anxious to discover the moment that is right for leaving mine, I found her words somehow comforting. I do not believe, however, that she is encouraging all women to divorce their husbands, but to finally simply realize their worth as an individual. I think the point is that once we do that we can heal those relationships that are salvageable and finally see those that aren't for what they are. I can see how some would see it as selfish because to a large extent she is encouraging us to be selfish, but I think as grownups we can certainly decipher what she ultimately means by the kind of selfishness that we must move toward. This book might not be for every woman, but it's one that I'm heartily recommending to my women friends.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
I found Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self very inspiring and very uplifting. She is not offering a cure-all, solve your problems type of information, Sarah Ban Breathnack is giving her listeners insights on soul searching, thinking about themselves and coming to terms by telling stories of other women who have questioned their role in life, questioned their feelings about home and family, as well as children, lovers, and friends. I found myself as I was listening to the tapes, say "that's how I feel!" After listening to her tapes I found I could say that my feelings about myself and others was real, was normal, was o.k. At 46 years old, I wanted to believe that my life has had meaning and has had a positive effect on others. Her stories re-affirmed what I already knew about myself, yet also made me take another look at myself and my life. I would recommend Something More to anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and the obligations of being a woman. These tapes are a feel good, my life is alot better than I thought kind of listening.
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 1999
This book is a waste of time! Good old Sarah, who did a fabulous job with Simple Abundance, really blew it with this one. She comes off sounding bitter at the break-up of her marriage (which she spent so much time lauding in SA)--she really goes off the deep end with the examples of "Soul-mates". Celebrities who want women they can't have (duh!) and men who after 20 years of marriage want to have a new face rather than to face their own issues). This book was a vehicle for her own healing and should have been kept as a journal--not published! Get a grip Sarah--your "soul-mate" is NOT going to save you from yourself and your bitterness and your life disappointments. Irresponsible writing if you consider the more gullible women out there. She basically says "dump that guy you've got for Prince Charming awaits!" She's been watching too many movies. If you have to read it--get it at the library. This one's going in the 25 cent pile at my next yard sale.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 1999
I liked "Simple Abundance" so much that I suppose I was bound to find this one somewhat disappointing. But I didn't expect it to be SO completely different in tone and timbre from "Simple Abundance." In fact, "Something More" seemed to contradict the comforting message of the first -- which was to find peace and contentment in the things you have. Like many women, I looked to Ban Breathnach as a role model -- as a woman who put the "art" back into the domestic arts. She gave both the career woman and stay-at-home mother permission to enjoy creating home and family ties; to take pride in building a family life of beauty and grace.
Then along comes "Something More," and the sad and rather surprising stories of the author's divorce and new life as a now-free-to-go-her-own-way single parent. For some reason, this hit me as a slam to the warmth and coziness she artfully created in the first book -- and I felt disturbed, maybe even cheated. Worse yet, the second book tarnished the shine of the first for me, or rather, showed me that the author's "Simple Abundance" wasn't quite so simple or so abundant.
I hate to add my own to the other voices expressing such disappointment -- as the author is a fine writer -- but there you have it.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 1998
Women of America, WAKE UP! If you want to find your soulmate, read Harville Hendrix's "Getting the Love You Want." Instead of dumping your husband, do the difficult and meaningful work required to become someone capable of intimacy. That's the only way you'll receive the love you so deeply crave. Ban Breathnach has it all wrong. Happiness in relationships is NOT about finding that one perfect man--it's about becoming that one perfect woman.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2005
For some reason, I have a problem with a writer who writes in "The Now" and it's obvious they are writing from there. This book is one of them. She pretty much starts the book off talking about how her divorce jilted her into reality and suddenly she was frantically trying to pick up the pieces while trying to understand exactly what had just happened.
And as I'm reading, I see a lot of "I" statements. She is constantly redirecting things back to her and her "Great Tragedy of Divorce". And I quickly realize that Sarah has pretty much gone about repackaging the 5 stages of grief into a pretty woman-speak version filled with all the emotional innuendos and clichés to get me to respond to her plight . Right about now, I'm feeling very cheated. This isn't a book about "excavating your Authentic Self" as it says on the cover! This is someone's personal growth diary of trying to over-come an event that is only life-changing to the author. It has no meaning or bearing on my life what-so-ever. (unless my husband isn't telling me something...)
But it's not a bad read, so I commence with the chapters. She begins talking about marriage and how so many women live in a marriage in quiet despondency. Where they don't live for themselves, but become a slave to the responsibilities that being a wife and mother have. That they sacrifice their true selves for the eternal happiness of those around them and they forever suffer in silence...
Now...hold the phone. I've been married for 8 years. Granted, not a long time, but long enough to realize that there are many things that are parts of me. Some larger than other, but still all a part. Not one thing embodies me, nor can represent me. I am my own person, a wife, a mother and all those things, along with others add up to who I am. So I'm sitting here thinking, "What archaic lifetime is this woman talking about?" Women don't associate themselves to solely their marriage, or their husbands. They may identify with it, they may introduce themselves as So-in-so's wife or mother, simply to make connections easier. But that doesn't mean that's who they think they are total and sum.
So, given that I have realized that this is not a book for just everyone, but more a book for her to vent out how she needs to move on, I figure this must be how she was in her marriage and how she identified herself, because to me, it seems like a very narrow-minded view that she has only supported with text from a diary written by the wife of Tolstoy, back in 1800's, when women *were* actually associated in society by their marriage and their husbands.
I found myself insulted when I read the part where she was talking to her friend who was thinking of cheating on his marriage because he and his wife had lost interest in one another, had grown apart and not reconnected. My thought was, here's a woman who has obviously associated herself with her marriage and now, she is giving advice to someone based on her somewhat already skewed view of relationships and romance? She was encouraging him to break off with his wife of over 25 years, simply because he had lost the reason he had married in the first place. The audacity! Her marriage had fallen apart because she failed to see the discontentment her husband had, leaving her feeling lost, alone and without a purpose, but yet, she felt it was only right, kind and natural for him to break off with his wife (who was in her 50's) so that he could continue the budding affair he had been having behind his wife's back for over a year. It seemed far too hypocritical and blind to me.
While, I find I can agree with her that couples in a marriage often do loose contact with one another and they do fall into a complacent "taking for granted" mode, it does not need to stay this way, and if one feels the need to roam, then what they really need to do is sit down and evaluate those reasons why, discuss them with their significant other, and see if a reconnection can be made, or is even desired. I'm not saying every marriage can be salvaged. I'm saying that many of those that are destroyed because of cheating affairs and romances are often done because the people involved have stopped talking. The communication connection failed and no one tried to make repairs or mend it to see if it just needed a few patches or if it simply needed to be completely replaced.
Breathnach, apparently, didn't get the idea that her marriage was failing simply because she failed to see that there was a problem. At least, this is the idea that is becoming obviously clear while I read. Because, her concept between "finding the authentic self" and being in a marriage or strong relationship greatly clash. She claims that love is the strongest force in the universe, but yet, she seems to not really be willing to open up and traverse the many different paths that love has to travel.
And this is what I dislike about writers who write in "Their Own Now". They are not prepared to write a great book of self-help, because, in reality, they are merely helping themselves. They are trying to make sense of what just happened, and somehow, think they have stumbled upon a "Great Moment of Inspiration!" when, in fact, they are sending all sorts of mixed messages and jumbled ideas that a person who is in the same place may take incorrectly and fail miserably in their attempts at creating a true, strong and potent relationship.
Or, to put it more simply: I wouldn't talk about my unstable relationship with a therapist who's just undergone a very messy and unexpected divorce. Their ideas, thoughts and objectives are not going to be related to my situation. I don't care how well they are trained.
I take Sarah's advice even less seriously, since, before "Simple Abundance", she was a documenter on the Victorian Era Woman. It's easy to see where she got her ideals of marriage from...
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
Naively, I misunderstood the `authentic self' in the subtitle, I was thinking in Jungian terms, that is, who we are in our souls and behind the materialistic layers and personas we wear. That's not what this book is about, it's about piling on the stuff. Still, never let it be said that I'm not fun. I looked around my house for magazines with glossy pictures, as required by the exercises. I found computer, investment, and environmental magazines...okay, I'm not fun. But still game, I did get as far as tearing out a few pictures of expensively-attired, skinny, teenaged models. I noted with some interest that not only did I not look like that, neither did the models, they were air-brushed. I wasn't sure if this meant my Authentic Self might be an Anime cartoon character, because around this point I got lost and just tried to read the book for its wisdom, and got further lost. It's not that it doesn't have any wisdom, some of the points taken by themselves are valid enough. I agree with the sentiment that all women deserve to be treated like queens. I'd also be agreeable if someone said we deserve to have lightening flashing from our fingertips. But the book is quite serious in its insistence that we all need to find rich young studs, who will coincidently also be our soul-mates, to do the treating, and that we should dump our husbands along with our worn-out undies pronto and get searching. Finding new underwear is excitement enough for me, I'm confused as to where we're all going to find rich young studs waiting for us to take advantage of them. Some alternate reality, perhaps? Besides, I'm extremely fond of my husband, and since Brad Pitt is now married (and probably leery of stalkers to boot), I decided to disregard the advice.
This book presents the type of woman I most loathe, the greedy, self-absorbed, `gimme-gimme' type. They have a desperation about them that's ugly. I was especially cynical about some of the buzz-words in the book. "Soul-mates' is one, I've heard too many people claim they've found their `soul-mate' and had the relationship not last a weekend. And `passion' should have a deeper meaning than naked lust. I'm not as clueless as to who I really am as this book would suggest and I can't imagine too many women are, unless they've been tied for years in a basement or have just awakened with amnesia. One positive thing about the book - I hated the shallow image so much that I was forced to look at my own faults, and resolved to be less demanding and whiny and more appreciative of my husband. In effect, I got from it the opposite of what I was supposed to.