Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself
by Joan Anderson

Hyperion, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4013-0339-6.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 07/05/2008
Review of the Month, August 2008

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

"Most of us, halfway to a hundred, confront a need for greater self-awareness." With this insight as the opening sentence, Joan Anderson takes her readers with her as she comes to realize that she had been ignoring her own needs for far too long. But how could this be? How could the woman who has given so many women the gift of awakening to self not be heeding her own words?

Anderson's book, A Year By the Sea, is the story of her awakening. It has become a national bestseller that encourages women to find themselves. But as the book and the others that followed grew in popularity, Anderson became so busy that she has robbed herself of herself. Her popularity as an author isn't the only thief. Book tours, public speaking, weekend workshops all steal time and energy. But added to that is the work of being wife, mother, grandmother, and care-giver to an aging parent. These forces have taken their toll on Anderson. And even when faced with her own health issues, Anderson waved them off. Her schedule didn't allow for time for such things as ill-health.

Enter female friends: "The Salty Sisters" to the rescue! Six women who met at one of Anderson's weekend retreats have become friends, nurturing and strengthening one another. Listening to these women, Anderson realizes that she faces too many demands. It is time to step back and re-evaluate. "If I am truly honest, I have to acknowledge that the demands I am so convinced are coming from the outer world are, in fact, coming from that perpetually unfinished part of me—the pulls and tugs originating from my own ambiguity."

In Second Journey, Anderson takes her readers along as she travels to ancestral Iona where she spends time alone in nature, searching for the parts of herself that she has been ignoring in the time since she wrote her first book. She comes to the profound conclusion "For if I have learned anything, it is that the journey will always be unfinished."

Reading a book by Joan Anderson is like sitting with a good friend, sharing a cup of coffee during a heartfelt conversation. With wit, humor and amazing honesty, she is able to reveal not only the pitfalls of a woman's life but also offer the insight and hope that are necessary to meet those challenges.

Joan Anderson is the acclaimed author of A Year By the Sea, An Unfinished Marriage, A Walk on the Beach and A Weekend to Change Your Life. Visit her website.

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