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Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself Paperback – August 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; Reprint edition (August 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375756485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375756481
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Readers of both genders and all generations will find timeless innocence and age-old wisdom in the scrawling, sprawling words of Sabrina Ward Harrison. The format here is a personal journal in which Harrison allows readers to be privy to her colorful pages of free-flowing collages, photographs, and wildly handwritten words. Harrison explores many of the typical questions, confusions, and insights that accompany the journey from adolescence to womanhood. At times her angst feels a tad clichéd ("I am afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you might not like it--and that's all I got."), but her gutsy presentation and honesty make her words feel fresh and hard-earned, especially in passages such as this:
I think God leaves me alone to let me find my own strength because no one else can give it to me. Sometimes it is very lonely. But I know the lonely times teach me the most. I must let go in order to let anything in. No one can love me, for me. Take a big walk protected in the trees. I miss the time before today.
Harrison is a gifted writer with an inspiring amount of heart-on-her-sleeve honesty. She even has the maturity to quote two of the big Ws--Walt Whitman and Woody Allen--with equal panache. But more importantly, she earns her readers' trust and hearts. As a result, Harrison is a woman to watch and a writer to follow. --Gail Hudson

From the Inside Flap

"We are all facing choices that define us. No choice, however messy, is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. We all at our own age have to claim something, even if it is only our own confusion. I am in the middle of growing up and into myself. This book is my life in progress."
        Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself is the creative expression of one young woman's attempt to understand herself as she grows into adulthood. Sabrina Ward Harrison shares her private journal and art, offering us lessons in life and empowerment that resonate with fresh, youthful wisdom.
        Written when Harrison was between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, Spilling Open captures the artist's journey of self-discovery with a powerful and courageous voice. This book is an intimate and moving picture of what it means to enter a contemporary adult world that is filled with contradictions about womanhood. Harrison reveals with tender honesty that, in spite of the women's movement, she has found more questions than answers about growing up female.
        Harrison's writing and multimedia art explore questions about love, faith, growing pains, being true, peer groups, and identity. A truly unique experience, Spilling Open will help open your heart and your mind.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Sabrina Ward Harrison is a treasure!
S. K. Anderson
Both of them just fell in love with the book Since then I have given it as a gift to other teenage girls.
Jill Dray
This book is not really available in Australia, and too bad for all the Australians missing out.
Kate

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jill Dray on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I originally bought this book because the author is from our small town. Sabrina was my daughter's small group leader at church and so I gave it to my daughter for her 16th birthday and bought one for my 18 year old niece who was going off to college. Both of them just fell in love with the book Since then I have given it as a gift to other teenage girls. I think it's great for them. Helps to know they share some of the same feelings about adolescence.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kate on February 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is not really available in Australia, and too bad for all the Australians missing out. This is the most astonishing, most beautiful book I have ever come across. Having being a journal writer for as long as I can remember, this book was a wake up call on how much I have to learn on the art of creative journal writing. This book is the epitome of creative, it literally spills creativity and reflection from the first page to the last. It is colourful, astonishingly thoughtful and indescribly beautiful. I can see why Sark and Sabrina have befriended each other, it is easy to see that their souls undoubtably dance to the same tune. They are both beautiful and this shines in their glorious books. My only complaint with this book, is that we are often only given sectors of her life, and I am frequently left wondering who she is talking about and what the pictures and the significance of small things she puts in there.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at the store, and sat down to flip through it. Instead, I read the entire book cover to cover. Unlike other self-improvement books, this book does not preach to you while you are feeling fragile. Rather, it allows the reader to look into the mind of an average woman, a woman who is confused and afraid as she discovers herself. This book prompted me to paint and write my feelings, and left me feeling less alone. Because I could peer into Sabrina's mind, I felt as though I truely got to know her. For that reason, would recommend it for anyone looking for not only self-improvement, but anyone looking for a friend.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Ryan on August 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
i just got a bad haircut and the first page i flipped to in Sabrina ward Harrison's SPilling Open was about how "mucky" she felt in her new too-short haircut... i was hooked. The enchantment! The beautiful mess that it is! And she is YOUNG! My age, as a matter of fact, but that certainly doesn't limit its charms and emotions to only 20-something gals. Limitless, enlightening, Sark-like yet quite more real in the sense that you feel as if you are reading someone's journal, their most secret fears and wishes. And all in VIBRANT collage form, paint and masking tape, photographs and mascara smears.
I love her honesty, her confusion, her REal-ness. I have been inspired to take up my painting again, to be more sensual and alive.
Please experience this book. IF you are human and tired of media stereotypes of beauty, happiness, etc... BUY IT! Throw out the skinny tight pants and be free. :)
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Shannon on October 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book elicited mixed reactions from me. I did enjoy Harrison's art: collage-y, somewhat messy and imperfect, it came across as very casual, which made it seem like she was not trying too hard to get someone else's approval (publisher, reader, what have you) and had really done it for herself. The deep colors and photography are pleasant to look at (though there is a picky point: all the pictures of Harrison herself look like they're trying to be spontaneous and yet end up looking calculated, like someone who has seen a photo of herself that she really liked and ever after always tries to hit that mark whenever a camera is nearby.)

The text I found less inspiring. I know this is from her journals (or at least purports to be), so some of the text and topics were bound to be somewhat angsty, but I kept hoping she'd break beyond them. I suppose that is the point and the process of journaling, but when she kept focusing on how fat her thighs are, it lost me after a while.

Also, her spelling is really not great, which makes me twitch. Even if this is a journal, it's also a published piece of writing.

Harrison is friends with SARK, an author with a shelf of upbeat self help-y books, and if you're familiar with SARK's writing it is easy to see in Harrison's book in some places where she is basically parroting her friend's words ("What is 'it'?" etc).

It's nice to see something creative in print coming from a younger writer/artist, though Sabrina still needs to hone her skills somewhat, in my opinion.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julie (jahandschy@aol.com) on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I opened this book and found myself...I could relate to everything listed, from the strong friendship bonds to the muckiness feelings to the exasperation of waiting for him to call, and then feeling horrible for "editing feelings"...I am also 23 and never have I found a book that so realistically contains the everyday thoughts my friends and I go through...the challenges that come along with growing into yourself, and the constant reminders that through everything, the world is full of inspirations. Sabrina's moods swing from low-self-esteem days to feeling brave and youthful. And through everything, she notices the small things that are really important in life, as well as the importance of her faith.Thank you for this book, Sabrina! You are truly a kindred spirit.
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