Some may consider this book empowering and inspiring.
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Before we dig into the meat of this review, I need to confess something. I am not the ideal demographic for this book. When I chose this book, it held the promise of an inter-religious (including atheists and agnostics) inspirational book. And, honestly, men and women from most major monotheistic religions will probably get a great deal from this book. Keeping that in mind, I will tread lightly and attempt to make this review as respectful as possible. So what is this book?
Permanent Happiness, by Iyabo Ojikutu, M.D., is a conversational exploration of what it means to live a balanced and healthy life. She outlines a three-step plan to acquire peace. There is only one Bible quote in the entire text, but it builds the basis of the first and most crucial step. Though the opening of the book takes great care to include all of humanity, there is a God-centered focus to the text and several conservative views on dating and apparel which some may find less appealing. And there are instances where the text speaks to teenagers and men, but most of the book is squarely aimed at women, especially mothers. Part of this is because the author is a Christian mother, herself. She converted to Christianity from Islam, which her parents in Nigeria practiced. But she is also a pediatrician, so she has a keen focus on children’s needs and childrearing.
It is clear that the author wishes to impart her wisdom and advice in good faith to improve as many people’s lives as possible. She described the process of creating the book as an urge, a supernatural need to spread peace. And she shares many stories from her own life, both the struggles she has endured and the successes she has gained. This is a deeply personal work, and that is something I can definitely appreciate.
At times she can take on a judgmental and critical tone when discussing various topics, which some readers may appreciate. Religious women with more moderate views may glean something from this book but disagree with parts of the author’s advice.
Personally, as a non-religious, non-mother, queer woman of the Puerto Rican diaspora, there was very little in this text for me to relate to. And this book would have been greatly improved by honing in on its ideal audience: religious conservatives. However, I appreciate the body/soul balancing metaphor the author created, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into her life story.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5
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P.S.: Want to explore other cultures? Check out this review.