I found this book equal parts bizarre, charming, and practical. I think that in your average American household Kondo's advice would equal unmitigatedI found this book equal parts bizarre, charming, and practical. I think that in your average American household Kondo's advice would equal unmitigated disaster. She's firmly of the "pull everything out and only put back what you love" school. Which works wonders in your closet, but if I pulled out every piece of paper we owned I would likely drown in it. And that's even though we have, by American standards, a very small and uncluttered house. Some of Kondo's attitudes toward material objects also strike me as quite fetishistic. For instance, she sternly warns readers to empty their handbags every night, so that they can "rest," and informs us that carefully folded clothes are aware that we love them. Okay, then.
What matters, though, is that this book is much more inspirational than others like it, which make decluttering sound like a perpetual, painful drag of a chore. ...more
I suspect the readers of this book are familiar with Krista Scott-Dixon's work at Stumptuous.com, or perhaps with her nutrition coaching. That, I suspI suspect the readers of this book are familiar with Krista Scott-Dixon's work at Stumptuous.com, or perhaps with her nutrition coaching. That, I suspect, explains the fairly mediocre reviews thus far. Because this little book isn't one of her famous rants, or a blog post, or even a straightforward narrative of eating disorder and recovery. Instead, it's a ragged, gaping, confessional poem in story form. As Scott-Dixon says herself, there is no "capital T trauma" in her story, just a thousand little unsatisfactory pieces. A complicated childhood, an unsatisfying career, aging parents. The crap we all deal with, that wears us all down. Adult women are the new battleground of disordered eating, for exactly these reasons, as we seek to reestablish control in a world that refuses to give it to us.
In the end, the books stays true to its theme: in a world of a million disappointments, there can't possibly be one true resolution, so don't expect one here....more
Margaret Webb turns 50 and embarks on a quest for her "fittest year ever." As part of her quest, she does extensive research into aging athletes and eMargaret Webb turns 50 and embarks on a quest for her "fittest year ever." As part of her quest, she does extensive research into aging athletes and especially aging female athletes. This book presents both her personal story and her research.
The research itself is fascinating. (Spoiler alert: exercise more.) Webb adroitly handles quite technical data--the composition of muscle fibers, what happens to our lung function as we age, biomechanics. She interviews some amazing older female athletes.
Webb's personal narrative suffers somewhat in comparison. It was an interesting story in its own right, to the kind of person who would read a book like this, and she sells it somewhat short. Because Webb uses her own story largely to transition from one research study to the next, the chronology is extremely jumpy.
What I found the most deeply irritating, though, to the extent that I almost docked my fourth star, was the ceaseless gender stereotyping. On one hand, Webb presents scientific data about things like the role of estrogen in fat storage. On the other hand, she trots out an endless variety of truisms like "women are afraid of competition" or "women are better at group activities" or (cue retching noises) "women like to hug before races." This mixture made me extremely uncomfortable, because I'm somewhat afraid that Webb's science will lend credence to her cardboard cutout version of Women Who Run. ...more