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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Girl Power Self-Help Book Empowering, But Not Earth-Shattering

(Image from Tribute Books)

How do successful women turn their personal challenges and tragedies into victories?  That's the question that plagued life coach Annmarie Kelly in February of 2011 as she waited for a call from her doctor, telling her whether or not she had cervical cancer.  Although her problem turned out to be much less severe than cancer, Kelly never forgot the deep pondering she'd done during that topsy-turvy period between receiving alarming test results and waiting to get a possibly life-threatening diagnosis.  These thoughts led Kelly to write Victorious Woman!, a book about women who have overcome serious obstacles in life.  As she talked with each of these ladies, she paid special attention to what tools they used to turn their hardships into victories. 

Nine women are featured in the book.  Each has a unique story.  Some have dealt with serious illness, spousal abuse, homelessness, heart-wrenching problems with their children, legal battles, career struggles, depression, addiction and much, much more.  How did they deal with it?  With tears, initially.  Then, they got to work.  They left abusive situations, sought higher education, demanded better jobs, got treatment for health problems/addictions, and, in myriad other ways, fought for what was important to them.  Along the way, they each found an inner strength they never knew they possessed.

Kelly uses each vignette to illustrate tools all women can use to turn their own hurts into helpful lessons that push them toward achieving the goals they've set for themselves.  Things like courage, proactivity, goal-setting, and planning are demonstrated by each of the women featured in the book.  After each story, Kelly includes a "Stepping Stones to Victory" section, which offers thoughtful questions for the reader.  She encourages readers to write the answers to the questions in a journal, allowing them to think about what each woman's story has taught them.  Kelly's hope is that this kind of deep self-reflection will help women make positive changes in their own lives, leading them to their own victories.

Victorious Woman! isn't really my kind of book.  I knew that when I agreed to be part of its blog tour.  Still, I thought I'd give it a try, thinking, hey, maybe I'll learn something.  I mean, we can all use a little encouragement and inspiration in our lives, right?  And this one definitely provides that.  Although the book gets long, it's better written than I thought it would be.  Very readable.  Still, I got bored with it, especially since all of the stories seemed to be demonstrating the same principles.  Overall, I didn't relate to most of the stories, so while they were inspiring, I didn't find them all that relevant, if that makes sense.  My conclusion?  If you like girl power-type self-help books, you'll probably like this one.  If you don't, you won't.  If you're kind of so-so about them, then you'll probably feel as I did about this one—it's just okay.  Empowering, but nothing really Earth-shattering or special.   

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  C+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild language and (brief, non-graphic) discussions of adult subjects like domestic abuse, sex, etc. 

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Victorious Woman! from the generous folks at Tribute Books in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!   


  1. I'm not much into these types of books but kudos for trying something new.

  2. Susan, thanks for taking the time to read and review Annmarie's book.


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