Reviews for Life is in the transitions Mastering change at any age. [electronic resource] :

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

“Life is the story you tell yourself.” So writes the bestselling author, encouraging readers to discover that story for themselves. The meaning of our lives becomes clear only through storytelling: How did you survive being rejected in work or love? How did you make your way through divorce, illness, war? One thing that storytelling tells us is that the arc of life is never so neat as a fairy tale. Feiler writes that while many of us assume the path of life is one of upward progress, we “are shocked to discover they oscillate instead.” It seems unlikely that any adult would be so shocked, but the assertion makes a useful hook on which the author hangs the idea that lives have different shapes—some butterflies, some spirals, some, to borrow from the British, pears. Feiler continues, abandoning notions of linearity for the sloppy, unpredictable courses that we live, whether through life-threatening illness or accident, drug addiction, the loss of job or loved one, and so forth. He is generous in opening his pages to the stories of others by way of illustration. One of the most affecting relates the tale of the granddaughter of Gen. George Patton, who had been born into wealth and prestige and abandoned it to become a nun—a path that did not happen overnight, thanks to an abbess who ordered her to go live a little beforehand, marking the transition to holy orders thus: “Go slow; insist on deep, personal reflection; mark each stage of the journey with carefully constructed rituals that delineate and demarcate the new status achieved.” That seems a useful mantra for lives lived in the secular world as well, and Feiler provides plenty of examples as well as a well-constructed set of questions as prompts for reflection. An unusual self-help book, of particular use to those contemplating writing a memoir or otherwise revisiting their past. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.