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Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk Hardcover – January 4, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From Publishers Weekly
In this addition to the stunt-blog memoir genre, 35-year-old yoga instructor and performer Okrant spent 2008 living by Oprah's advice as dispensed via her show, magazine and Web site. The author was fascinated with the way Oprah evokes equal parts admiration and disdain, and curious about whether it's â€œeven possible to follow someone else's advice to discover one's authentic self.â€ Despite skepticism about the validity—or possibility—of finding happiness through Oprah, she embarked on 12 months of Oprah-prescribed activities and expenditures, plus blog updates. Monthly tallies detail activities, expenditures and the author's thoughtful observations. For example, she writes: â€œI believe Oprah's ultimate goal is to empower women and girls,â€ but â€œI think Oprah devalues women by focusing so much on our bodies.â€ The author is honest about her own experiment-inspired conflicts: as a result of her endeavors, she has a book and has lost weight, but is â€œalmost always a stressed-out, insecure, exhausted mess.â€ Okrant posits that, in many ways, pursuing a â€œbest lifeâ€ detracts from â€œreal life.â€ In the end, while there are few real revelations, Okrant has written a thoughtful, honest examination of her journey. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Robyn Okrant is a writer, filmmaker, performer, and yoga teacher. A graduate of Bennington College, she also holds an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives with her husband and two cats in Chicago.
Top customer reviews
But! Alas! She has won and still intrigued me, because at the end of the day, the sheer power of Oprah over American women is fascinating. That being said, I think she could've gone more on the Oprah side of it, as others have said. I certainly don't mind hearing details about her life, obviously she is the center of the experiment and we need that view. But I think she could've done a little research and presented some side stories...make it more of a research/memoir. There is so much information about Oprah and her audience she could incorporate. I don't mind memoirs one bit but I will agree that for this subject matter it was way too memoir-y.
I also think she acted too robot-y about the whole process, with the note-taking and the freaking out. She didn't seem to feel into a lot of the "assignments" which was the point of them, and Oprah's whole thing is about your soul and she could've gone deeper into that.
Also, how the heck did she have so much extra money being a yoga teacher?? Seemed like she barely worked. I was in shock at how much she was able to spend.
The book's action was very cliche in terms of other "year of..." trends. Anyone who is focusing on one thing for a year, be it cookbooks or Oprah, is going to have changes in their relationships, finances, etc. Not as if she planned this breaking point she reached, but the audience has come to expect the plot from books like these. More creativity please!
Whoa, that got long. All tht being said, the book was somehow still very entertaining to me, which I think speaks more to my interest in the Oprah-fication of America than Okrant's writing. Just like Oprah, Okrant is laughing all the way to the bank!! A fun quick read but very flawed
One thing that really bothered me about this project is the toll that it sometimes took on the author's relationships and finances. I lost a lot of respect for her when she purchased an item that she couldn't use or afford, such as the fire bowl (or maybe it was a chiminea?) even though she didn't have a yard or patio where it could be used. I get that part of the project's purpose was to point out that Oprah freaquently does not take the common woman's budget, space, and time constraints into consideration, but that is already a well-known fact. Writing a chapter or making a list of these things would have been smarter and still kept the spirit of the project.
I was really hoping that this would be the Oprah-fied version of AJ Jacobs' "Year of Living Biblically," but alas, it did not come close. (Do yourself a favor and get that instead!)