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October 2018

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L’art de la Simplicite by Dominique Loreau

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two Stars

Best for: People interested in some fun home and beauty tips (but only if you skip the section related to health and food, because it is awful). If you’re really interested in a fun minimalism book, just get the Marie Kondo one.

In a nutshell: French author has ideas on how to live a minimalistic life, mostly borrowed from her view of Japanese culture.

Worth quoting:
“Life is far more enjoyable when we cultivate the habit of losing ourselves in our own thoughts: this is a precious gift that brings great happiness.”

Why I chose it:
I love shit like this (usually). I like organizational tips.

Review:
This book is equal parts useful and dangerous. On the one hand, Loreau offers some great points about being present in the moment, about minimizing our possessions, and about the need to focus on one thing at a time. Given the fact that I’m currently writing this review while listening to a podcast and eating breakfast, I can obviously use some help on the latter at least. If that were the entirety of the book, then this would probably be a three-star book for me.

But it’s not. Loreau also jumps into the discussion of physical and mental health, and hoo boy, does she get it super wrong. I mean yes, of course, less sugar is probably a good thing (for most, but not all, people), but her obsession with getting the reader to want to be slim (skinny) is just bizarre. There’s a whole section of affirmations focused on this idea, as though one cannot be fat and happy or “overweight” and healthy. It’s insulting. And if someone had a history of body image issues or disordered eating, it could be triggering.

And then there’s her flippant ideas about mental health and human relationships. She literally says that we should “swap our therapy sessions for a case of champagne.” The fuck? She also thinks we should never be critical of others or complain. Her solution is we should write a lot (good!) but never share our writing. Yes, I’ve seen and understand the thinking of, if you’re upset with someone, writing them a letter to get it all out and then burning the letter. But this feels different. I think that if Loreau were in charge of the world, there would be no negative or critical analysis of anything.

So, this book failed as a Brain Candy read because it wasn’t just fun and fluffy. But I chose it for that, so I’m stuck with it.

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