SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
Embrace your ideas, accept and have a conversation with your fear.
I didn't pre-order this book, was ready to pass on it, but then I re-watched Elizabeth's TED talk on "Your elusive creative genius," acknowledged I'd hit a roadblock in my own life, and knew, yup. This might be just what I need.
And it was mind-blowingly good.
Naturally, it's not a perfect book, but for something that's not even 6 hrs. it sure does pack a whole lot into it. You'll learn that fear goes hand in hand with creativity, but the thing to do is to take it on the journey with you but let it know it absolutely will NOT be driving.
The most enchanting concept Gilbert discussed was that the earth is inhabited by Ideas that are just waiting for humans to claim them for manifestation. Which I really feel is true. Sometimes I feel the whole goosebump prickle/brick over the head/just got an amazing idea thing, and it's off to the races. But Gilbert goes further through the entire book because creativity is a long, long process. And sometimes we let it be disheartening, sometimes we even view it as the worst, most abusive person in the world when, really, creativity values and needs us. We have the opportunity to open our very souls to wonder, and we can invite even more inspiration into our lives, when we feel stumped, by taking baby-steps of action, and by simply declaring that we enjoy our creativity--we have to appreciate what we have. Plus, gotta kick the perfectionist habit which is fear-based; the way to function best is as "the disciplined half-ass" (which is a TOTAL relief to me. The half-assed part, I'm working on the discipline...)
This book is all about living these temporary lives of ours as joyously, as vividly as possible. Go ahead. Have an affair with your creativity! Steal away with it for 15 minutes here, 15 exciting minutes there! Let's treat it like we love it!
Truly wonderful audiobook. Great prose, and Gilbert has a wonderful speaking style.
By the way? Another reviewer mentioned the lobster. I've gotta admit: It really is indeed a memorable story that'll stick with you
This would be a 3.5-star review because of textual flaws (and almost painful narration), but it's so important it really needs to be heard.
If you're an animal lover, don't worry: while brutal, it's not too terribly graphic, and... well, get a grip. This is what happens. This is why you love them and want to do something for their well-being. This is why you never want to buy a Michael Vick jersey. Seriously, I saw a documentary on him after this was all over, and he seemed so genuinely contrite that I thought, gee, maybe he really got it and regrets his actions (and I'm almost militant when it comes to holding grudges!)
But after listening to his actions prior to his court appearances? The many, many protestations of innocence? The rearranging of funds? The purchases he made while others were caring for the animals he brutalized? I'm not feeling that warm and fuzzy about him right now.
But let's go back to the book. The flaws. If you can get past the first part, you're golden. Because it does some plodding. And really. We don't need to have the "thoughts," the "feelings," stated for us. I believe that animals think and feel, but to have an author point out exactly what's going on in their heads is unrealistic and annoying. Go by their actions, their responses. Those are suggestive enough of the trauma they've suffered, what they must've endured. Those will haunt you and make you damned near cry because you'll be able to fill in the blanks very well on your own. The necropsy report on how one dog in particular died will appall and enrage you (if you have even one sensitive bone in your body).
The second flaw is the narration. Garcia isn't wretched, not the worst by any stretch of the imagination, but he delivers the text with such silences between sentences, such pregnant pauses, it's hard not to doze off if you listen after work, and you're kind of tired. (Fortunately, anger will rear it's head, and you'll wake up because of the story.) Also, it's not until the end that he slips in emotion or emphasis to what he's reading. And that's startling because really, it's unexpected at that point since he's spent most of your listening hours in something short of a monotone.
But, BOY! What a story! This is about justice. It's about fear. It's about overcoming fear and learning to trust, to love, to live and breathe. And it'll make you want to hug your dog (or cat, or hamster) and watch them as they enjoy the lives you've given them. Because some animals have never been able to run and play. Some have never known the excitement of a new smell. Some have never known the comfort of a soft hand or a kind word. And bravo to the rescue groups who step in here, most of them smaller and not so well-funded or well-known. Bravo to the foster people who really take their time and put their hearts and souls into doing whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to bring peace and joy into the lives of the abused.
Michael Vick flunked a drug test during his time before sentencing: said he smoked the marijuana because all of the stress "the ordeal" put him through. Too bad his dogs didn't have anything like pot... for what he put them through.