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Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness Hardcover – May 9, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Browning's 13-year-job as editor-in-chief of House & Garden fulfillingly defined her days and her identity; when the magazine folded two years ago, she was shaken to the core of her being. Having maintained her Westchester house, family of two grown sons, extensive garden, and frequent dining out, her life and general sense of self was radically shaken over the next year, and in this enchanting, funny, deeply gracious memoir, Browning, many years divorced, recounts how she found enlightenment at the other end. Writing was one way to absorb the panic; she went on a muffin-baking binge and gained 15 pounds; lost track of days, remaining comfortingly in her pjs and yearning perilously to reconnect to a former lover she calls Stroller, who was deemed wrong for her by everyone she knew. A few small decisions had enormous impact, such as when insomnia compelled her to tackle Bach's Goldberg Variations on the piano, and poignantly she refocused on her artistic nature. There is such feeling and care on each page of Browning's well-honed memoir—her rediscovery of nature, her avowal to let love find her rather than seek it, tapping satisfying work at her own keyboard—that the reader is swept along in a pleasant mood of transcendence. (May)
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“If you read one book, make it Slow Love … advice we could all use, regardless of whether we’re gainfully employed!” (Shape Magazine)
“In burnished, exquisite prose, Browning describes her feelings of being set adrift until she gradually transforms her helter-skelter days into a deliberate, contemplative way of life. … There’s a lovely ‘thinking out loud’ quality to Slow Love that makes the reader privy to Browning’s soul.” (Judy Bolton-Fasman - The Boston Globe)
“Starred Review. There is such feeling and care on each page of Browning's well-honed memoir—her rediscovery of nature, her avowal to let love find her rather than seek it, tapping satisfying work at her own keyboard—that the reader is swept along in a pleasant mood of transcendence.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Not only an elegant and meditative writer but a pungently witty one ... Triumphantly, [Browning] makes the case for slow love achieved, a process she describes as the flip side of nostalgia: the state of 'knowing what you’ve got before it’s gone.'” (Miranda Seymour - The New York Times Book Review)
“There cannot be a person on earth who does not sometimes wonder what the purpose of their life is. Dominique Browning was lucky enough to get fired, so she had time to find out who she was or might be. And we are lucky that she was able to write (often with great humor) about her loss, her loves, her pajamas and ultimately, her return to life.” (Maira Kalman, author and illustrator of The Principles of Uncertainty)
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Love this writer for her depth, skills and sensitivity. Always a good read, I am glad Browning is writing now without all the distractions of her former career. For an insightful view of a real life lived by an open and humble woman with enormous talent in these changing times, pick up one of her books and escape your mundane existence. I feel as though her readers become the plants she loves to put into the soil and care for. Nourished by her thoughts and considerations, we bloom and grow via her hands.
We've all loved a person who could not commit and a job that could not last forever but we hoped they would. The answers to what next and how come and lets look at this another way, can all be found in Slow Love. Keep on Writing and Planting Please!
....and you would expect I loved this book right? Wrong!
What could have been a beautifully written insight into recreating your life after a major late life disappointment (more along the lines of her Slow Life Blog) was instead a story of self indulgent naval gazing. By the half way stage I had to force myself to finish this in the hopes it would improve (it didn't).
While I understand this is an autobiography I also see this as being quite incongruent with the themes of much of her published writing to date - and many of her current opinions and outlook on life. I simply cannot equate the self possessed woman of today with the writer who obsesses if a still married man loves her, whines about how hard her lot in life is (when she is evidently wealthy and has a number of homes) and becomes obsessed with eating mostly biscuits...
If you love Dominique's current out look on life better not to take the scales from your eyes (I am sorry to this day I did!) - and more to the point if you are a middle aged woman in the midst of a job layoff or personal crisis this is not a book that will give you any insight in how to move on or change your life.
A huge disappointment.
Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness (Hardcover) by Dominique Browning (2010).
Written well, Browning tells the story of her life after losing her long term job as editor-in-chief of House & Garden. She refers to this time in her life as "Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness."
It is a story that all of us can identify with as she verbalizes the pain of letting go; at one point her son tells her "...Put the book down." She replies "That's always been my problem. I just can't close the book no matter how much it makes me cry. I am under a spell, hoping that all will end well, even when it clearly isn't going to" (p. 86). Browning goes through a grief process of saying `goodbyes' letting go of the past, to birth her new life which she does so well-but not without pain and suffering within the much needed container of time. She reminds us that "It's the story-it's being in the story" (p. 86).
It is a `real' story of one's woman journey to herself as she processes her losses and the complications of love and letting go. She learns to identify and let go of old behavioral patterns. She also lets go of things-objects and through this process rebuilds a new life; a new self. There has been a `death' in her life and she is seeking the `resurrection.' She finds it. In her new life she learns to make room for play (fun and pleasure and surprise) and balance (she learned to make time for life and simplified her life). She moved from the space of a `human doing' to a `human being' and learned to feel her way through as work/job (busyness) wasn't there to help her avoid her feelings. In a psychotherapist language it might be stated that she did some co-dependency recovery work -she filled up her `toolbox.'
Creativity surfaced through her cooking, gardening, art, walking, reading, music, poetry and writing. She is doing inner work and although her circumstances might be different financially than other individuals who lose jobs, I think the path to self is for all of us quite universal. It is this theme for me that stands out in this soul-searching story as Browning tells us that "I realize how happy I am, and how lucky. I'm unafraid. I'm taking care of myself" (p. 231).
Slow Love can be a guide for others' whom are making or have had to make life changes. She sums it up best on p.231 quoting Mary Oliver, "You too can be carved anew by the details of your devotions."
Thank you for this book, one which I hope will be a support for many.