I came across Bittersweet through the “if you like this, also consider…” listing based on the two previous books I’ve talked about on my blog. While I wasn’t as enamored with this one, going back through the passages I underlined makes me think that I came away with more than I thought.
What’s interesting is that my take on the book might have been very different a year ago. Usually I pursue book reviews on goodreads once I’ve finished reading a book (in part because I don’t want it to taint my view or experience with the book). A few of the comments pertaining to Bittersweet mentioned that they came across the book at a good time in their life because it was a message they needed to hear. I feel the same, but for opposite reasons.
The premise, as one might surmise, is about how life is bittersweet. Many of the reviewers read it while they were going through a rough patch and found comfort in the book. I’m relatively certain that I would have done a lot of eye-rolling if I’d read it six months to a year ago. Case in point:
“Life hands us opportunities at every turn to get over ourselves, to get outside ourselves, to wake up from our own bad dreams and realize that really lovely things are happening all the time.” (pg. 138)
At least for me, being in the midst of a bitter moment makes it hard to see those lovely things. You’re still waiting to wake up from the bad dream. And what I appreciated about the author is she talks about how she became a person she didn’t particularly enjoy during her season of change. “I began to live a much smaller story, and that story was only about me. I wanted an answer, a timeline, and a map.” (pg 17)
Been there, done that.
For that reason, I’m glad I had ended up reading the book during a more sweet moment in my life. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on how far I’ve come. I couldn’t help but nod in agreement and chuckle at her statement, “And while I certainly didn’t thrive on the process, I’m really thankful for the result. I’m thankful for what change forced me to face within myself” (pg. 19).
My hope is that this book gives me a better understanding for how to approach the next bitter moment in life, which will inevitably happen. I likely won’t thrive in the process, but I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way to still see more of the sweet instead of focusing primarily on the bitter.
And I will say that some things would have resonated with me regardless of when I read the book. I can certainly relate to this all too well, and have for years.
“One of my core fears is that someone would think I can’t handle as much as the next person. It’s fundamental to my understanding of myself for me to be the strong one, the capable one, the busy one, the one who can bail you out, not make a fuss, bring a meal, add a few more things to the list. For me, everything becomes a lifestyle. Everything is an addiction.” (pg. 56)
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether that helps or hurts both the bitter and sweet moments…