It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose

It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose


$16.22 $16.99 Save 5% Current price is $16.22, Original price is $16.99. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Friday, October 26  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.


It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose by Melanie Dale

Hey, you. Are you debating whether to destroy something with your bare hands or curl up on the couch for a decade or two?

This book will solve all of your problems. (Sheesh, that’s aiming a bit high.)

This book is a cup of hot coffee, a ginormous bar of chocolate, or the magical fairy that comes over and does your dishes while you lie in the fetal position clutching a fluffy pillow.

Sometimes when life falls apart the only acceptable response is hysterical laughter. When things get so far gone, so spectacularly a world away from any plans you made or dreams you dreamed, you feel it bubbling up inside of you and you scream, “It’s not fair!” And it isn’t. Fair is an illusion, and life is weird.

This book will help you laugh at life’s absurd backhands. This book is an empathetic groan of our collective unfairnesses. You might want to throw it across the room, and you might want to hug it like your new best friend. This book is about us sitting down together in our shared mess, taking a deep breath, gripping hands, looking the hard stuff in its beady little eyeballs, and bahahahaaing at it.

Life’s not fair, but we can learn to love this life we didn’t choose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310342144
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 08/16/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 503,093
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Melanie Dale is a minivan mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. Author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, she loves speaking, writing for Coffee+Crumbs, and advocating for Children’s HopeChest. Living in the Atlanta area with her husband and three kids, she blogs at

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Part of the Book Where I Explain the Book a Lot

1 A Help-Each-Other Book 13

Part 2 All the Feels

2 I Feel Your Pain 27

3 The Heart Cry of the Entire Human Race 41

4 How to Fall Apart Like a Boss 52

5 Digging Out from a Good Wallow 58

6 Complaint as a Spiritual Discipline 61

7 So Totes Righteously Angry on Your Behalf 69

Part 3 Coping Mechanisms for the Horribly Mangled

8 Fighting Emotional Gangrene 81

9 Comfort Foods That Will Help You Eat Your Feelings 90

10 Because Sometimes Suffering Is Funny 95

11 Don't Make Me Come Over There 104

12 Living Like a Cadbury Egg 110

13 Count the Wins (Even While You're Losing) 115

Part 4 Hell is Other People… or is it Heaven?

14 Things You Should Say If You Want a Good Face Punch 127

15 Faking Healthy and the "I'm Fine" Smile 139

16 Awkward Hugging 145

17 The Two Most Powerful Words 147

18 100 Things You Can Do to Help. 152

Part 5 On God, Suffering, and Other Easy Subjects

19 Her Cupcake Is Better Than Mine 161

20 You Went to the Zoo 172

21 Why Do Bad Things Happen? 178

22 Failure, Doubt, and Being Bananaballs 193

23 Everything Will Be Okay If 197

24 A Bunch of Bible Stuff for All Your Various Moods 205

Part 6 What's Next?

25 How to Survive the Death of a Dream 217

26 Steering into the Surprise 226

27 The Excruciating Pain of Joy 235

28 Where Do We Go from Here? 239

Acknowledgments 245

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Melanie will make you laugh, think, and help you begin the process of shuffling toward joy.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
It’s Not Fair! The battle cry of the afflicted, the unafflicted…the human race. Melanie Dale jumped to the top of my favorite authors list with her first book, Women Are Scary. Her second book, It’s Not Fair, Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose, is equally as wonderful. Her unique and delightful sense of humor along with her openness, make It’s Not Fair a book that will have you laughing, crying and throwing out an “Amen” with each chapter. She talks about the realities of life and the struggles of believing when life gets hard. There’s no Christianese here, just honest and loving words. It’s the kind of book you can give to a friend who’s hurting and the kind of book you can settle down with when life throws rotten tomatoes at you. It provides practical advice with a hug. There are so many wonderful quotes in this book, but I think this one sums it up best: “Be gloriously and ridiculously yourself. Dare to hope in the present, in all its squishy mess. Incomplete and messy with lots of question marks.” Pg. 120 Melanie shares her personal battles with suffering including her journey through infertility, adoption, and broken dreams. She reminds us that God isn’t interested in the made-up, dressed up versions of ourselves. Rather, he wants the honest and transparent with all of the unanswered questions. She uses the best quotes from movies, books and TV shows in each chapter, along with some great drawings. It’s like a feel good, pick yourself up and wrap yourself in a warm hug kind of book. Do I recommend it? Y.E.S.!!!! A hundred times over. Melanie Dale never fails to deliver a book that I want to buy for everyone I know and It’s Not Fair, is no exception. I received this book from the author and Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here.
angcolling More than 1 year ago
It’s Not Fair gave me a good snort-laugh, cry, and warm hug all while putting a soothing balm on my “poor baby” emotional boo-boos. Melanie bravely goes there and dives into the hurt and suffering that all lives experience, saying look I have wounds too; let's care for one another in a “here’s me sitting next to you way.” With a unique voice, she writes openly about her experiences in suffering, grief, wanting and waiting. She uses words that are wise, thought-provoking, humorous, and unexpectedly grant me permission to laugh even during the worst of times. She teaches us to embrace the concept of thriving during suffering, “Sur-thriving”. This book is uplifting and fun with hilarious Twitter quips in the margins, pant-pee inducing illustrations and made up words. I’ve always thought it best to laugh often. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Laughter and mummy-style wrapping of oneself in a fuzzy blanket, which Melanie suggests is a must do of self-comforting. I concur. What’s the saying? Everyone is going into a storm, in the storm, or coming out of one. We or someone we know probably could use a good bear hug with lots of soothing hair stroking. As I read this book, I feel like Melanie did just that for my current emotional bruises and old battle scars as well. I am left feeling like I have a new friend. One who will go there with me into the trenches when life isn’t as lovely as a Facebook picture. This book is a must read for those who need some love and for those who wish to love on hurting people.
BKlover22 More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough great things about this book! Life just doesn't meet our expectations a lot of time, and some people have to endure much more than their share. Melanie Dale reaches out to us, and helps us find a way to reach out to others. Her book is funny, sincere, and so needed in this flawed world. I love her heart for others - wrapped up in her way of using humor amidst the truth. I highly recommend that you read this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The maimed cookie man on the front says it all…life has beaten you up and you’re crying “It’s not FAIR!!” Well then…this is the book for you! The author’s quirky sense of humor is exactly what you need when you’re in the midst of a disappointing life occurrence – because laughter really is the best medicine. She says this is a ‘sit-with-you’ book and in addition to the comforting “Me too”s she advises of, she also offers alternative ways to dealing with the stupid things people say to us when we’re in the pit of despair. If you’ve ever gotten an ill-timed “God’s timing is perfect!” you know exactly what I’m talking about here! She tackles the tough questions like “why do bad things happen” and “how to survive the death of a dream,” all while giving us Christians permission to talk about the things that make us unpeppy and oh-so-not-happy. Also included: bible verses, movie quotes, and comfort-food recipes, oh my!! Just like her first book Women Are Scary, I guarantee by the time you get to the end of this one, you’ll feel like Melanie is your bestie.
KristinSmith More than 1 year ago
Melanie has a way with words. You will find yourself laughing out loud in one moment and feeling your heart cry with her another. She doesn't sugarcoat the difficult, she tells it like it is...but then she backs that reality up with an honest look at how we can walk forward even when life isn't fair. There are times that I think "God I have had enough...let's be done with the refining process", Melanie gets that. She has been there herself and she doesn't try and make it all happy dances and rainbows. But instead leads by example and shows how we can take difficulty and walk in happiness and freedom. Love this book and her heart that is so transparent throughout!
LorraineR More than 1 year ago
I’ve been privileged to settle into It’s Not Fair over the past few weeks. While our stories are radically different in detail, the author and I share the inevitable reality that life has not been fair to us. And if we stopped there, the book would be nothing more than a reminder that some seasons of life just blow and we are not alone in our angst. Melanie Dale is authentic; she shares her journey through infertility and adoption with candor. She said herself that she can’t solve your stuff, so if you’re looking for a self-help book, move along…nothing to see here. But if you are looking for someone to “sit next to you in your stuff” (or if you want to learn how to be a BOSS at sitting next to someone in their stuff) this is a must read. Have you ever wanted to help but didn’t know how? There is an entire section titled “100 Things You Can Do to Help” but while you are at it, be sure to check out “Things You Should Say If You Want a Good Face Punch”. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Are you wallowing in the middle of something unimaginable right now? You will want to speed read over to the chapter on coping mechanisms but take your time because there is some really good stuff before you get there, some validation and empathy and I bet you could use that right about now. I have a list of favorite quotes. I laughed and I cried; I folded corners on pages so I wouldn’t lose them and I highlighted with fury. I drew smiley faces and sad faces and mad faces and I might have created some emojis of my very own. I felt validated and understood. Did you hear that? Validated. Understood. Seriously. Life. Changing. I loved all of it, including the rudimentary stick figure drawings and the chapter of recipes, because, well…food. At the conclusion she didn’t wrap it all up with a nice bow and suggest we follow her step by step program to heal all of our pain and live happily ever after. Rather, we display our scars, and when we pass each other and notice them, see the beauty in them, we nod. Solidarity. It’s not fair; we know it and we own it. For ourselves, yes, and for each other.
ChantelA More than 1 year ago
If you've ever uttered the words, "It's not fair," then you'll love this book. Melanie writes from a place of deep heartache and deep joy, (which she says is different from happiness because joy actually hurts). This isn't a book that will solve all your problems or make your pain disappear forever. But after reading this book, your heart will be a little lighter, you'll feel a little braver, and you'll rest easy knowing you've made a new friend. You'll also learn how to be that friend. In my work with families who have children with cancer and in my life as the wife of a husband who is a pastor, I meet so many people who are hurting and feel helpless. There's lots of books out there that promise joy with moral platitudes. Melanie is Melanie. She doesn't pretend to be an expert. She meets you where you are--wherever you are. And she's a hoot! With chapters on comfort foods and things you should say if you want a good face punch, you'll be laughing AND crying. There's also chapters on counting the wins, the two most powerful words (you'll have to read the book to find out what they are), and surviving the death of a dream. And then there's practical stuff too. I mean, the chapter titled "100 Things You Can Do to Help" is worth the price of the book alone! I hope you'll be brave enough to steer into the surprise that is this book, a book I imagine reading over and over again and purchasing for friends. Just because I'm all grown up doesn't mean I don't have my own "it's not fair" moments every now and again. I'm STILL learning to love the life I didn't choose.
katieking More than 1 year ago
Learning to love the life you didn't choose. When I read the subtitle of Melanie Dale's new book It's Not Fair, I was hooked. This has essentially been the theme of my life for the past few years. I was excited to read It's Not Fair, and it turned out to be even better than I expected. Melanie has a thing for fuzzy blankets ("Fuzzy blankets are my favorite."), and this book reads like one big fuzzy blanket hug. Need to wallow and watch Netflix? There's a chapter for that. Angry about your messed up life? Melanie will meet you in the swear shed. Hungry? See chapter nine, "Comfort Foods That Will Help You Eat Your Feelings." Not sure how to help someone? Melanie came up with 100(!) actually helpful things you can do. Are you just a hot mess? You'll find "I'm so sorry" and "me too" scattered throughout the book. In addition to all those wonderful things, It's Not Fair is full of movie quotes, hilarious tweets, funny doodles, and anecdotes from Melanie's blog and reader submissions (mine's on page 87!). Melanie also weaves scripture and biblical encouragement throughout the book, grounding our unexpectedly messy lives in God's good and perfect will. Yes, I am part of the launch team for this book and it is my "job" to be enthusiastic and flood social media with #itsnotfairbook, but I really did think this book is fantastic. Whether your life is a mess, or you love someone whose life is a mess, this book has it covered. With a fuzzy blanket. And if you pre-order before August 16, head to the It's Not Fair website for details about how to get fun pre-order bonuses. FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.