Saturday, October 19, 2013

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman

"When it comes to sorrow, no one is immune." Alice Hoffman already knew sorrow, but she was the caretaker, not the person who suffered. She refused to admit she had breast cancer. Now, fifteen years after being diagnosed, Hoffman is a survivor who wanted to give people the kind of gift she would have liked to have had at the time. Hoffman's book,  Survival Lessons, is her gift with suggestions as to how to celebrate beauty even in the midst of trouble.

Survival Lessons is a slight book, but the chapter headings alone make reading the book worthwhile. Each chapter heading is a lesson in itself. "Choose to Enjoy Yourself." "Choose to Plan for the Future." "Choose to Love Who You Are." "Choose to Dream." "Choose to Love." Hoffman reveals her heart and her feelings about each of these lessons, and more.

Of course, this passage struck home. "In my family, a book was a life raft." I could understand everything Hoffman said about escaping with books.

Sorrow comes to everyone, whether you're the victim, a survivor, or the survivor of a victim. As I said, so many of the chapter headings were important. But, it was the overall message of the book that truly resonated with me. "There is always a before and an after. My advice, travel light. Choose only what you need most to see you through." Survival Lessons for all of us.

Alice Hoffman's website is

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2013. ISBN 9781616203146 (hardcover), 83p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Trisha Klowak said...

Thanks for sharing Lesa :) This sounds like a wonderful book...I read Alice Hoffman's "The Dovekeepers" earlier this year and loved it. Can't wait to read more about this amazing author!

Beth Hoffman said...

I've always loved Alice Hoffman. Besides being a wonderful writer and storyteller, she's a wise and generous person, too.

Beautiful review, Lesa! Happy Saturday to you and the kitties.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Trisha. This isn't a typical "Alice Hoffman" book since it's very personal and nonfiction. I love so much of her fiction.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Beth! It's been a Happy Saturday. Cold and rainy, so we all napped and cuddled.