Author: Brene Brown
Reviewed by Chloe Fuksa, Putnam Six Bookstore
Brene Brown is a researcher with degrees in social work, and her newest book – Atlas of the Heart – is a wonderful non-fiction read as we start a new year. Her work focuses on vulnerability and connection, and she uses that foundation to go even broader for this book. She explores 87 different emotions and experiences, and while that may seem like a lot, she argues that understanding emotional nuances, having the words to express ourselves, will lead to better, stronger connections. As our language is being condensed constantly because of convenience and technology, it seems a good idea in the new year to return to deeper, richer times.
In discussing the emotions and experiences, Brown brings in definitions and quotes and academic research to show the finer points. For example, belonging is different than fitting in – belonging means being accepted for who you are, fitting in means being accepted for being like someone else. For anger too, it may often not be actual anger, but instead be the outward expression masking inward hurt or embarrassment or anxiety. Brown also includes helpful strategies, such as practicing gratitude to overcome foreboding joy, or learning how to walk alongside someone in their grief.
This book is divided into 13 chapters, and it might be wise to tackle just one chapter per month. It can at times get a little complex and dense – though it helps that the most important parts are often bolded or set apart. As our children grow up in the age of social media, as the disconnect between generations grows, as our political sphere gets more divisive, as our mental health struggles worsen, this book feels like it could do a lot of good. It’s a guidebook to help us all better understand ourselves and one another.
Visit us in Sunset Plaza or call 580-297-5089 to get your copy of Atlas of the Heart today!