Monday, September 03, 2007

Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live with Purpose and Passion by Robin McGraw

Book Review by Zinta Aistars

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2006
  • Price: $24.99
  • ISBN-10: 078521836X

There are times that I enjoy reading a book, and I read it quickly, and still, I cannot give it top marks. Inside My Heart by Robin McGraw, perhaps better known as wife to Dr. Phil, is one of those books. It is an easy read, one chapter leading into another, as we grow warm with empathy and curious about the life of this woman, arguably successful via her marriage more than for any particular accomplishment of her own. I've come to respect her husband's work (and I didn't initially, feeling he was riding on Oprah's coattails and reducing psychiatry to sound bites, yet after watching some of his shows and reading his columns in O Magazine, realized this man has pretty sound judgment about the quirks of human nature), and so, rather vicariously, became interested in what his wife had to say...

Robin has nothing new to say that we haven't already read in other women's inspirational and empowerment type of books. Nor am I clear on why a religious-based publisher like Nelson would have chosen to market her book in Christian circles and bookstores; there is very little mention in it about Robin's spiritual beliefs or influences on her life. And yet, I must admit, by the end of the book, I'd grown sympathetic to this woman, could imagine enjoying a personal friendship with someone like her, and give her my nod of respect for the life decisions she has made, and for her courageous value system. Ah yes, values. Something of which we are so achingly devoid in modern society. Robin makes sense of having them again. She writes about her approach to being a woman, a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, all based on well-defined and usually very traditional values. Husband Phil comes out pretty shiny and admirable, too, subscribing to the same values, as any good husband and father would and should. Even if we already know these values, we certainly can use reminders such as this. They work.

Nothing literary about this writing, reading more like a protracted magazine article than a soul-baring deep-diving personal expose. And the pull quotes are rather annoying every few pages, serving no purpose that I can see other than getting in the way of a smooth flow. But you know? I liked it. It's a nice book, with nice things to say, and perhaps it is time to fly the flag for the value of niceness again. I dare say we all secretly long for it.

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