Grace & Guts: Strategies For Living A Knock-Out Life, by Shannon Perry
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Adams PR Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There is little in this book that is particularly new. That is not to say that what is present is bad–far from it. It is just that this book more fits in the line of encouragement to people who might need to be reminded and urged to do what they are supposed to do. It should also be noted that this book is aimed at a female audience. As is often the case, I read this book as an unintended audience, and I was struck by the fact that this book does not talk about anything that a male audience cannot relate to. This book can be read profitably by a wide audience, even if it is aimed, like a lot of other books of its kind, at a female audience in particular. I am left to wonder here, as often, if it is that women authors do not realize that they are addressing universal concerns and not ones that just women have, or if they do not believe that men would consider as worthwhile the insight and counsel that a female author would provide, and so such writers assume that only women readers will take them seriously.
Be that as it may, this short book of just over 100 pages is divided into twelve chapters. The author talks about the need for people to care for themselves as they care for others (1), how to handle betrayal (2), how to crush insecurity and inferiority (3), how to overcome faithlessness and fear (4), how to defeat people-pleasing (5), and how to demolish addiction (6). After this, the author tackles how to overcome loneliness (7), master anger (8), manage difficult people (9), battle depression (10), beat worry and uncertainty (11), and champion our purpose with God as our coach (12). The book then concludes with a discussion about the author as well as a list of other books by the author (who I had not read previously). The author gives some mixed opinions about social media, having some negative things to say about how it can waste time but some positive things about how it inspired the book’s last chapter. Likewise, the author draws a lot of insight from her own life and personal experiences in a way that is likely to encourage her audience.
There is at least one aspect of this book that I saw closely tied to the author’s experience as a woman. For example, some of the issues in this book, including the juxtaposition of mastering anger and defeating people-pleasing, deal with both ends of the double bind that women often face in feeling it necessary to express discontent while doing so in a way that does not make the woman feel disagreeable. It is by no means an easy thing for a woman to overcome the challenge of the acceptable domain in which one can maintain one’s reputation as a decent and worthwhile woman while expressing disapproval of something that someone else is doing as it relates to her. Yet the sort of problems that women face as the author discusses here are not limited to women alone. Do not men feel that they sometimes have to walk on eggshells or cater to the whims of others? Do not men have to master their anger and overcome loneliness? Do not men struggle with addiction or battle depression or face the challenge of worry and anxiety and uncertainty? Indeed they do, but this book gives a subtle reminder that if men are to take heed to such advice as this book has, it will likely have to be provided by men. As it is, at least the women who read it can expect to be encouraged here.