Happy Friday, everyone! Sorry for my scarcity this week; it’s been another busy one for me and I’ve had migraine attacks and headaches off and on for days. I’m back—at least for today—and here to bring you a combination of a special announcement and a review. This time the announcement and review are for a self-help book crossed with an inspirational story. Today’s book is Era of the Beautiful Women by Valeria Johnson.
As the title might indicate, this book is for my female readers more than the males. In Era of the Beautiful Women, Johnson takes the reader on a journey to discover the true key to health, beauty, and, by extension, happiness. This key does not have to do with any of the artificial make-up, fad diets, or mounds upon mounds of products which the commercial and fashion worlds try to force on us. Instead, this key can be found in the natural and organic worlds.
Johnson utilizes the story of Samantha, a rising writer who has fallen into some bad habits, to illustrate tips for restoring your waistline, energy level, hair, and more. We start with Samantha’s moment of clarity, the moment when she realizes she isn’t happy with living off junk food and a sedentary lifestyle, while hanging out with her beautiful, healthy, and happily-married older sister. We follow Samantha through her attempts to become happier, from adapting a healthier diet to fulfilling her dream of living abroad. All the while, Samantha encounters “beautiful” women and health professionals who share their secrets with her, which Samantha gladly absorbs and applies to her daily life. These tips begin to add up until, finally, Samantha has become the sort of person who is not only healthy and beautiful but also someone she is proud of and happy to be.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with the issues of health and beauty. Standards for both issues are very unrealistic and, often, harmful when taken too far. Between body-shaming and the complete societal rejection of any minute imperfection, I am always wary of anything which promises the secret to beauty. However, Johnson doesn’t necessarily promise that. Instead, her book provides women with tips which will make them look better and feel better. Beauty, after all, is not just about how you look to others but about how you feel about yourself.
Johnson emphasizes this fact in Samantha’s story and I really appreciate how she does it. Namely, Johnson uses Samantha’s hair color to demonstrate that what “looks good” isn’t always the best thing for you. Everyone thinks Samantha looks gorgeous when she dyes her hair blonde. Over the years, though, her constant coloring, bleaching, and other assorted hair treatments causes her hair to become fragile, dry, and unhealthy in general. Although she eventually lands on being blonde again, Samantha cuts back on the artificial treatments of her hair, choosing to use natural treatments like honey to bring life back to her hair. She feels better when she stops trying to conform to societal standards of beauty (i.e. constantly dying her hair just to have some new look). That is what I appreciate most about Johnson’s book; it’s not about conforming to this or that societal standard but doing what makes you feel healthy, happy, and, yes, beautiful.
Johnson weaves her tips and tools for a healthier and more beautiful life throughout Samantha’s narrative and gradually shows how the changes are making Samantha feel better and more confident. This method requires the reader to pay closer attention to the story in order to get the information, but I don’t think that at all detracts from the experience. In fact, I think that it helps the information stick in the readers’ heads. Which would you remember better, someone telling you that you should eat more fruit to have more energy or a story about a woman seeing positive changes in her life because her new diet increases her energy level?
I think that female writers and editors in particular will appreciate Samantha’s story. She’s a rising writer and has worked some editing jobs. While she works on her projects, she snacks on junk food and does not move for hours. Who here hasn’t experienced that pitfall of the writing life? Era of the Beautiful Women offers alternatives to this vicious cycle which any writer can incorporate into their everyday lives, so long as they try.
Still, this book is not without its flaws. I noticed multiple proofreading and editing errors, including misplaced punctuation, awkward sentences, the occasional typo, and one instance of a character’s name being misspelled. As this book is meant to help readers improve their lives, I don’t think these errors take away from the main messages. The errors are easy enough for Johnson to fix, so I don’t think they’re a huge detraction from the quality of the book.
I also wish that the book were longer. At only 47 pages, I feel that Johnson did not include all the advice she has for readers and that we could have seen so much more of Samantha’s inspirational tale. The short length makes for a quick read but, as the advice is so valuable and Samantha’s tale so motivating, I feel that expanding the book would only make it better.
Overall, I recommend this book for any woman—especially female writers—looking to improve her energy level, outlook on life, and, yes, her appearance. Johnson’s simple, yet relatable and heart-touching, introduction pulls you in and you’ll want to continue right through the end to see if Samantha finally gets the joy and romance which she deserves—and, of course, get the tips and tools to find your own happiness and beauty. Johnson is even kind enough to include a link at the end of the book to blog which can help readers follow up on the organic, active life.
The best part is that the Kindle edition of Era of the Beautiful Women is currently free! This promotion started today (December 15th) and will continue through December 19th. Follow this Amazon link to snag it while you can.