Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Falling for Me

Summary: Like most women, whether they’ve chosen the Fortune 500 career path or have had five kids by 35, Anna David wondered if she’d made the right choices. Then she came upon the book Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan’s fearless leader from the mid-sixties to the late nineties. Immediately connecting with Gurley Brown’s unique message of self-empowerment combined with femininity, Anna vowed to use Sex as a lesson plan, venturing out of her comfort zone in the hope of overcoming the fears and insecurities that had haunted her for years. Embarking on a journey both intensely personal and undeniably universal, she becomes adventurous and spontaneous—reviving her wardrobe and apartment, taking French lessons, dashing off to Seville, and whiling nights away with men she never would have considered before. In the process, she ends up meeting the person really worth changing for: herself. -- William Morrow

I enjoy reading a good memoir now and then, so I decided to pick up a copy of FALLING FOR ME: HOW I HUNG CURTAINS, LEARNED TO COOK, TRAVELED TO SEVILLE, AND FELL IN LOVE by Anna David. I had never read a book by Anna David before, but I have always wanted to ever since learning that she was one of the original "Debs" from way back in 2007. I thought FALLING FOR ME sounded interesting, and it was also a story that couldn't be more different from my reality. I figured I could possibly learn something, or at the very least, live vicariously through Ms. David.

FALLING FOR ME is Ms. David's story about the time she spent trying to live her life according to the rules set out by Helen Gurley Brown in SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL. I had, of course, heard of SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL, but I wasn't familiar with Gurley Brown's specific messages. I found it very interesting to learn about this classic book and understand the powerful combination of self-empowerment and femininity... and I enjoyed seeing what advice withstood the "test of time."

This might sound awful, but when I picked up FALLING FOR ME, I wasn't sure that it was an ideal read for me. First or all, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to relate to Ms. David. Secondly, I was afraid that this book would be too much like EAT, PRAY, LOVE -- and I couldn't even get through that book. And finally, I thought that I might be too much of a stick-in-the-mud to appreciate Ms. David's real life escapades of "Sex and the Single Girl." So at this point, you are probably asking why did I even bother to pick it up? I'm not really sure, but I was drawn to this book for some reason; and I'm really glad I read it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed FALLING FOR ME. It was a very entertaining and enlightening read and I loved quite a few of the life lessons that Ms. David learned throughout her journey. While there is no doubt that Ms. David and I have led very different lives and I could never imagine myself embarking on her quest, I found myself really liking her. I admired so many things about her --  from her self-determination, to her desire to better herself, to her brutal honesty. But what really surprised me was that I discovered that Ms. David and I do have more in common than I ever would have thought. From reading about some of Ms. David's personal struggles and enlightenment in FALLING FOR ME, I actually found myself wanting to challenge myself and become a better person.

There were definitely some parts of the book that I related to more than others. Namely, I'm talking about the parts that weren't related to dating and sex. I have been with my husband since I was 20 years old so I didn't experience the kind of stuff that Ms. David did. I'm not even sure if I had stayed single into my thirties that I would have done some of the things that Ms. David did. However, while I was sometimes surprised by her behavior, I was also highly entertained by Ms. David's stories and especially the way she shared them. If I'm being entirely honest, I found myself laughing a lot -- even at times when the situation probably wasn't very funny to Ms. David.

I do think that FALLING FOR ME would make an interesting book club discussion. I'm pretty sure that my book club would appreciate it and I have a feeling that a lot of old stories might resurface during our conversation. There is a reading guide available with questions which delve into Ms. David's life as well as other ones that cause the reader to evaluate her own self. Some of the topics that you might want to explore include love, dating, relationships, friendships, fears, insecurities, choices, and self-discovery.

As I mentioned earlier, I do think one of the benefits of reading FALLING FOR ME is that it caused me to evaluate my own life and my choices. That alone is reason enough to pick up this book! But even more so, I was surprised by the depth of this memoir; and I recommend for any woman who has ever wondered about the path her life has taken.

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.


Serena said...

this sounds very interesting. I'm glad that it surprised you.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

This sounds very interesting...even though like you, the author's experiences will be very different from mine. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love so even if this one is like it, I'll be happy :) I wonder what it would be like to read Sex and the Single Girl before or after this one? Do you think it makes a difference?

bermudaonion said...

Don't you just love it when a book takes you by surprise like that? I'll have to get to this one soon - you know me and memoirs.

Beth F said...

So glad to hear it is not Eat, Pray, Love all over again. Now I might have to add this to my list.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds like this would be fun for a book club!

Swapna said...

I've stayed away from this one because I didn't think I'd be able to relate to it. Looks like I might have been wrong! Thanks for the review.