Among the myriad of glowing reviews, that one scathing judgment validated every insecurity I'd ever had about my writing and made me slightly ashamed of the book itself.
Believe me, I knew I was crazy to focus on the negative. I tried to ignore the reviewer's words, but they haunted me. It didn’t matter that my aim in Defying Gravity wasn’t to publish great prose or win a Pulitzer. It didn't matter that I'd accomplished my goal, which was to write a quick and easy read that would inspire people to not give up on their dreams as they age. (I'm being trite again, I know.) From that point on, I almost always prefaced my comments about the book with the words, “It’s not that well-written, but....”
Then two things happened that changed my thinking. First, a woman I work with at the Mercy Learning Center mentioned to me this week that she's reading the book and loving it. I could see in her eyes and hear in her voice that she was being totally sincere. “I want to give it to all my girlfriends,” she said. "Every middle-aged woman I know needs to read this book."
Mind you, I’ve heard this comment before. Actually, I’ve heard it again and again. But something about how Diane said it made me see that I’ve been getting in the way of the book’s power to transform lives.
When I told my husband what Diane said and the epiphany I'd had as a result, he sent me a link to the video below. Some of you might find it, well, saccharine, cliché-ridden, even offensive in terms of its religious slant. (For being three letters, God is such a huge term, isn’t it?) But I’d rather have Marianne Williamson's words--often erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela--stick in my mind than the judgment of some isolated reviewer.