Am I 'dumbing down' this blog? Or embracing the 'chick lit' genre? Or worse still - 'adopting a religion'? I ask all these questions because I glanced upon this book in the not-so-literary 'Inspirational Fiction' section at Borders and despite years of cynicism doubly generated by a university education in the Humanities and that bittersweet pill called life experience, I picked Ashley Stockingdale's tale off the shelf. And then I sat and read 20-odd pages, too embarrassed to take it to the cash counter. But the narrative had a grip on me, like reading it at age 24 would do to me what poring over Ayn Rand did back in high school (which basically means it would change how I looked at EVERYTHING). Part of the reason I bought this book is because it has probably been a while since I had clarity regarding any life issue. Gone are the days of late-teen idealism or 21-year old youthful dreams. All that I can see through my five-year old Dolce and Gabbana glasses (which I can't wait to discard) are patterns of behaviour that need amendment before permanent doom sets in. The pickiness with regards to the opposite sex, the extreme diligence in matters pertaining to academic work, the supreme joy arising from creative pursuits - I thought I had cracked the code to happiness. Alas, not! Fear nor reader, for I'm not suicidal, or depressed, or even unhappy. I'm simply at a crossroads where previously-held beliefs have been turned on their head and a major shake-up in thought and action is required.
Similar to the story of 31-year old Ashley who, despite being a patent attorney in Silicon Valley, carrying a Prada handbag, and subscribing to the Christian faith, is SINGLE (but more importantly, dissatisfied). Hence she goes about changing her attitude and getting comfortable in her own skin as the narrative progresses. So what's new here? Haven't we all heard this advice before from well-meaning Oprahs? I think the character is endearing because of her many vulnerabilities, and her ability to laugh at herself.
Is this the key then - humour? As I turn it around in my brain/heart-shaped lock (see, I'm confused about this too), will it make a wonderful clicking sound that is the music of my future? Will it open the door to a pathway of self-belief and success? Doubts are already beginning to creep up like rust on the shiny new key. Let's go get a new one cut!