Reviewed by Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts
TAGS: Iyanla Vanzant, SmileyBooks, Fix My Life, forgiveness
"…while forgiveness ain't easy, it's the most important inner work you can do within your mind and heart." -- Iyanla Vanzant
The idea of reviewing a book—any book—about forgiveness is frightening. As a result, a reader’s inclination at the onset of reading Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything may be to just focus on the technical details. Indeed, would Iyanla Vanzant, self-help guru and bestselling author and host of the popular television show Fix My Life, between all her "beloveds" and personal anecdotes, actually help the reader move through his or her own process of forgiveness? Is the writing clear and concise and accompanied by real, hard examples on how to accomplish the various steps? Is the book good?
This reviewer had an interesting experience while reading this book for review and taking the 21-day journey to forgiveness; memories resurfaced of the many times when self-forgiveness was difficult, especially when it came to weight gain, or lack of progress toward a certain goal. The realization that grudges were still being held against certain people was a powerful testimony to the healing quality of Vanzant’s latest book.
In the midst of this journey, Vanzant introduces the reader to various "forgiveness friends", individuals called upon to share their own stories of forgiveness. In essence, Vanzant teaches that humans are not alone; all have to walk this bridge called forgiveness if the desire to move from painful to our powerful places is evident.
Reading this book was an unexpected journey for which this reviewer was entirely ready. Indeed, the primary critique for Forgiveness is that the reader has to be ready for this book. If readers follow the practice and “do the work,” it's inevitable that personal issues will to rise to the surface, which can be painful. Those moments will bring the reader to a crossroads: close the book, with a possible revisit at a later date; or forge ahead toward emotional freedom.
Vanzant sprinkles her usual aphorisms throughout the book and this may seem, at the very least, pseudo-spiritual. The book does feel, at times, as if it were a wordier version of the script for Fix My Life. She also incorporates an alternative healing practice called Tapping, or EFT, which for some might seem strange (although an increasingly popular alternative therapy). Despite these potential obstacles, there is enough good to come out of reading Forgiveness that these minor issues really don't matter. This reviewer highly recommends Forgiveness for those seeking more internal healing.
Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts is a writer and educator based out of the metro Philadelphia area. She is the author of six books including The Gospel According to Sasha Renee and Interruption: The Gospel According to Crystal Justine (both part of the "Gospel of Grace Women" trilogy) and The Unlikely Remnant. Tracey has written for numerous publications (regional, national, and online) including Circuit Rider, Philadelphia Weekly, Heart and Soul, and Denene Millner's MyBrownBaby.com. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Kentucky, an M.B.A from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh-Dickinson University.
Formerly the Managing Editor at CLC Publications, a 72 year-old publisher of Christian nonfiction, Tracey now teaches writing and publishing courses at Philadelphia University, Rosemont College, and the Community College of Philadelphia. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. You can visit Tracey Michae'l online at www.traceymlewis.com.