Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"In this inimitable, beloved classic--graceful, lucid and lyrical--Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh's musings on the shape of a woman's life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives. With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking, best-selling work when it was originally published in 1955, Gift from the Sea continues to be discovered by new generations of readers."
I haven't ever read a book quite like this. It's been around for a long time, and I had never even heard of it until my book group decided to read it this month. It's a fast, easy read, but the implications of it are not an easy fix. It's funny because she wrote this a long time ago, yet it rings true today; probably even more than it did then. Ms. Lindbergh was able to take a two week vacation, away from her husband and children, to write this book. She recommends it to every woman. Yeah, right! There is no way I could just up and spend two weeks by myself on the ocean shore without my family. It's hard enough to find time to spend on a family vacation. So, some of her advice is great, but not very practical. Of course it's easy to figure things out when you have that much time all by yourself with none of the demands of children or husband calling your name every few minutes! I'm sure I could figure out lots of things if that were the case; however, a lot of the advice she gives is actually really good. She says that we women need to simplify our lives. We need to get rid of distractions and find ourselves. I agree with her. Yes, we do! But how do we do that today? It's something every woman needs to find for herself, there is no magical wand. She says we need to make ourselves a priority, which we probably do. Unfortunately, that is difficult because so many things seem to be more pressing than time for me. I enjoyed her descriptions of the shells and how she related them to different times in a woman's life. I liked a lot of what she said. The problem was, she never really said how to accomplish it, or if she accomplished it when she arrived home to her husband and five children. If nothing else, it was a good reminder to try and take some time for myself once in awhile, and try to simplify as much as possible. Also, it was a great reminder to live in the now; to enjoy life as it is today and not just bide my time until that "someday" happens. Life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey, right? Sometimes that is hard to remember. Even though the answers are not clean, I would recommend this book to every mother. It won't solve all your problems, but it's a nice break from the busy-ness of life and motherhood, and it might help you at least get the thought process started on how to achieve simplification and enjoy life today.
Rating: PG-13+ (There isn't any profanity or violence, but there is talk of "intimacy" in the marriage relationship. It's not graphic or detailed, but it is discussed because it is an important part of a marriage.)
Recommendation: Adult (It is written for adult women, and I think they will enjoy it most)