Formal prose and an excess of daily details slow the pace somewhat, but there’s still much to enjoy in this intimate work. Readers wary of a recovery-based or religious memoir can relax: the author does not linger for long on either aspect, choosing to use them as illustrations, and her brief conversations with God will also resonate with nonbelievers as she struggles with universal concerns and questions.
Ghielmetti’s story offers valuable lessons for women who feel driven to take care of everyone else at their own expense. Perfectionists will see that the world will not come to an end if they loosen up and allow others to help. She demonstrates that middle age is not too late to learn the value of a little selfishness. Finally, she shows that personal growth requires doing things that are scary—though maybe not every day—and encourages readers to take each day one step at a time. Anyone who needs a nudge in the direction of self-indulgence will find a very pleasant one here.
Takeaway: Women of a certain age, particularly those who are perfectionists, will enjoy this blend of memoir, travelogue, and self-help advice.
Great for fans of Elizabeth Tallent’s Scratched, Robin Romm’s The Mercy Papers, Andrea Martins’s Expat Women.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A-