Survival Lessons

Survival Lessons

4.4 9
by Alice Hoffman
     
 

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One of America's most beloved writers shares her suggestions for finding beauty in the world even during the toughest times.

Survival Lessons provides a road map of how to reclaim your life from this day forward, with ways to reenvision everything—from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself. As Alice Hoffman

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Overview

One of America's most beloved writers shares her suggestions for finding beauty in the world even during the toughest times.

Survival Lessons provides a road map of how to reclaim your life from this day forward, with ways to reenvision everything—from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself. As Alice Hoffman says, “In many ways I wrote Survival Lessons to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other. I wrote to remind myself that despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.”

Wise, gentle, and wry, Alice Hoffman teaches all of us how to choose what matters most.

Editorial Reviews

Review quotes

“In this gem of a book, Alice Hoffman acknowledges the sorrows of life, while reminding us of its joys. Survival Lessons is filled with love, insight, and lots of practical advice--including a crazy-good brownie recipe. I'll be sharing this book widely, but keeping one copy permanently on my nightstand for all the times I'll need its wisdom and warmth.” —Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“Full of smart intentions and kind reminders . . . Uplifting advice we’ll gladly take.” Better Homes & Gardens

“Very warm, humble, sometimes funny, infused with a spirit of optimism.” The Jewish Week

“The book is not about her breast cancer per se but about making choices (each chapter is titled “Choose…”) that will improve readers’ lives and relationships and remind them 'of the beauty of life.' More than cancer sufferers will be glad they picked up this tiny gem.” —Library Journal

“It may be short, but it's powerful. An absolutely beautiful book.”—Sue Monk Kidd

“Heartening.” Kirkus Reviews

“Writing with sparkling directness, warmth, humor, and long-steeped wisdom, Hoffman has created a companionable and genuinely useful book for times of crisis. Small, intimate, and lovely . . . Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.” Booklist

From the Publisher
“In this gem of a book, Alice Hoffman acknowledges the sorrows of life, while reminding us of its joys. Survival Lessons is filled with love, insight, and lots of practical advice—including a crazy-good brownie recipe. I'll be sharing this book widely, but keeping one copy permanently on my nightstand for all the times I'll need its wisdom and warmth.” —Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“Full of smart intentions and kind reminders . . . Uplifting advice we’ll gladly take.” Better Homes & Gardens

“Very warm, humble, sometimes funny, infused with a spirit of optimism.” The Jewish Week

“The book is not about her breast cancer per se but about making choices (each chapter is titled “Choose…”) that will improve readers’ lives and relationships and remind them 'of the beauty of life.' More than cancer sufferers will be glad they picked up this tiny gem.” —Library Journal

“It may be short, but it's powerful. An absolutely beautiful book.”—Sue Monk Kidd

“Heartening.” Kirkus Reviews

“Writing with sparkling directness, warmth, humor, and long-steeped wisdom, Hoffman has created a companionable and genuinely useful book for times of crisis. Small, intimate, and lovely . . . Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.” Booklist

Library Journal
09/01/2013
Prolific author Hoffman (The Dovekeepers; The Red Garden) took 15 years to write the book she wishes she had had upon her diagnosis. The book is not about her breast cancer per se but about making choices (each chapter is titled "Choose…") that will improve readers' lives and relationships and remind them "of the beauty of life." More than cancer sufferers will be glad they picked up this tiny gem.
Kirkus Reviews
A how-to guide to facing death and living life by the popular novelist and cancer survivor. When Hoffman (The Dovekeepers, 2011, etc.) received the diagnosis about her lump, her immediate response was denial: "I was busy after all, the mother of two young sons, caring for my ill mother, involved in my writing. My most recent novel, Here on Earth, had been chosen as an Oprah Book Club Choice; an earlier novel, Practical Magic, was being filmed in California with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. I didn't have time to be ill." Once she came to terms with the fact that disease doesn't necessarily strike at our convenience, she was able to deal directly with her situation, put her life in perspective and get her priorities in order. She was one of the lucky ones--15 years later, she remains very much alive and productive, capable of writing the book that might have helped her when the shock of cancer blindsided her. "In many ways I wrote Survival Lessons for myself to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that's all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss," she writes. Though Hoffman has earned renown as a talented writer, this isn't really a writerly book, but more like conversational advice from a close friend. Most of the advice is common sense, yet the element of choice is crucial when faced with a fate that seems beyond your control. You can choose how to respond and put your crisis in perspective: "Good fortune and bad luck are always tied together with invisible, unbreakable thread." Hoffman ends with words of wisdom from her oncologist, who advised that, "cancer didn't have to be my entire novel. It was just a chapter." In other words, this too shall pass. A lightweight but heartening book.
Booklist
“Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.”
Booklist

BermudaOnion's Blog
“Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.”
Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616203146
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
251,788
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

All the while I was in treatment I was looking for a guidebook. I needed help in my new situation. I needed to know how people survived trauma. It took all this time for me to figure out what I would have most wanted to hear when I was newly diagnosed, when I lost the people I loved, when I was deeply disappointed in myself and the turns my life had taken.

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