Emma's Reviews > Bad Childhood--Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood

Bad Childhood--Good Life by Laura C. Schlessinger
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's review
Jan 22, 09

bookshelves: personal-growth, relationships, healthyness
Read in January, 2009

I'm somewhat embarrassed to like this book so much due to Laura's history of homophobic B.S. while she was doing her 5-year stint as an Orthodox Jew, her "family values" empahsis, and that she also wrote a book called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". Blech. Plus on her show she comes across as kinda mean.

But it's a good book. It's straightforward and contains a lot of good examples from people who called or wrote in about what it takes to basically "grow up" - to accept that while you childhood sucked, and may have left you with various problems or permanent scars, it's your life now and if you want it to be good you've got to accept that you are responsible for your actions and your life period - no matter what happened to you as a child. To stop suffering requires you to accept that your parents were how they were, you can't change them and being mad doesn't help, and that if you choose to fail to get back at them you are only hurting yourself. And you always have a choice. The same is true of relationships - if you end up trying to get someone to change or love you and they just aren't able to or don't choose to - that's something you have to accept. You can't fight reality and win - but you can accept and deal with reality and make a good life for yourself no matter what other people are up to.

I also like how she emphasizes that recovery involves finding a focus outside of yourself - being involved with other people in some capacity where you give of yourself. I find that many self-help books tend to encourage the self-absorption with personal pain that people with problems already struggle with. And it's not about being of service out of guilt or trying to deserve something by being "good"--it's about choosing to be part of the human project instead of stuck in your head forever.

And she does this without sounding harsh or abrupt or simplifying complex situations - which I expected given her demeanor on her show. Perhaps she comes across better when she has more space to explain things, or perhaps it's just that she has this preachy tone on air that turns me off. In any case, the book is compassionate and clear.

Great book. And I guess Laura is "gay-friendlier" of late. So OK.
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