{Book Review} Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart

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Imagine that you are taking a delightful morning stroll. The sun’s rays peek through the majestic oaks before you. Birds perch atop their stately branches, chirping harmoniously as a cool breeze rustled its leaves. As you close your eyes and pause to breathe in the beauty of this moment, you are suddenly sucker-punched at full-throttle speed, just like the opening scene in a Fast and Furious movie. The dichotomy of life—illustriously beautiful yet can be reprehensibly cruel.

A demonstrative example is a society learning to navigate through a global pandemic. What we once took for granted like going to work or school, celebrating milestones, tolerating one another’s foibles, and visiting loved ones now has us second-guessing our every move to stay safe, and, in many instances, alive. Rachel Hollis, New York Times bestselling author (Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing), has written a new book entitled, Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart. From her trove of grief, Hollis unearths some of her most sacred and sorrowful stories that expose her humanity in its rawest form—ones that include relationship struggles, people-pleasing, negativity, character attack and assumption, divorce, business floundering, and death. One of her most potent renderings is when she recounts her brother’s suicide at a young age. The tumultuous pain she felt reminded me of my encounters with insurmountable loss. Hollis’s quote resonated like an anthem to my soul when she shares:

“With a few lines she saw my pain, and she made me believe that it mattered. I see your pain. I see how badly you were hurt. I see how desperately you want to feel hopeful. I see you—even in the midst of everyone else—because I have touched sorrow just like you have. I understand this is a club that none of us asked to join, but we’re here now, and we have to make it mean something. I refuse to believe we’ve walked through all of this because we’re cursed. I can’t believe we were made to suffer—I won’t accept that that’s why you are here. There is goodness in this world, and there is light inside you still, even if it’s been dimmed—even if others have tried to extinguish it completely. I know you didn’t plan to walk down this path, but you’re on it. I know if you’ve made it this far, you are strong enough to see it through. You will get through this. You will. Humans can endure anything so long as they cling to hope for what tomorrow will bring.”

Whether past or present, Rachel’s book functions as a compass, guiding readers as we traverse our way through the traumas and trouble life heaves our way. Hollis, a feisty go-getter and a powerhouse of a woman uses optimism as a superpower to combat life’s ills. She uses compassion, humor, and admonishes readers in a sisterly way, not with harsh criticism but genuine love, tough love, to help us take ownership of the areas we are able, whether it be mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually. Rachel is that cheerleader who implores us to face our deepest hurts, helps us wrestle with our vulnerabilities and insecurities, and shows us how we can utilize our struggles as stepping stones to step into our truths and authentic selves. Her validation means the world to many— that our own journeys are purposeful and not in vain.  “…We can do that for each other, right? We can hold space for each other’s pain and each other’s joy and maybe find a lesson in it for our own lives as well. We always have a choice.”

I agree, Rach. We can stay stuck and wallow, or we can excavate valuable cognizance out of a bitter mess and seek to do better, be better, and be a blessing in all we do. Though it hurts to have endured many years of trial and error, heartache, and acrimony, I am so thankful to have reached a healthy place and found semblances of solace from my suffering. I may never know, but I hope my own journey through words might impact someone in some small way, just like Rachel has with her efforts in Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart.

Didn’t See That Coming, Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart by Rachel Hollis
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, Dey Street Books
Genre: Nonfiction (Adult) | Self-Help
Release Date: September 29, 2020 

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Wendie, native Phoenician and professional writer, holds a Bachelor's in Secondary Education/English, SEI Endorsement, and Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies in Writing and Psychology. Honing her craft, Wendie specializes in ghostwriting, aviation, event planning, communications, interviewing, education, creative writing, poetry, and the nonprofit sector. She is inspired by stories of valor, is actively involved in philanthropy, loves traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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