Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review Spotlight - Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was not exactly what I was expecting when I purchased the Kindle version on the day of its release.

I have been a huge fan of Ms. Gilbert since Eat, Pray, Love and have devoured all of her books up to and including The Signature of All Things that I purchased a signed copy of. This is how much I adore the author.  I feel that she speaks volumes to me through her writing and have learned so much about life and myself from her words.

When I started reading Big Magic, I was excited after waiting for months following all of the hype on her Facebook page and website.  I was thrilled to get it on the day of its release.

After the first few pages, though, I was disenchanted and rather disappointed.  I am not sure why, but the words in the first chapters did not immediately resonate with me and I, hesitantly and unceremoniously, returned the book for a refund.  I know, I know, this is a sin and unheard of for a true fan of this wonderful author to return her book.

Then something MAGICAL happened. Seriously, folks, I cannot make this stuff up ...

Amazon normally removes the title and its contents from my device when I return an e-book.  When I went to sync my Kindle application, Big Magic was still on it. My conscience (or something bigger than myself?) kept prompting me to read the book and give it one more chance. I kept telling myself that it just wasn't going to get better and to not bother...

After a few days, I relented to this continually nagging voice and started reading the book where I had left off a few days earlier.  Mind you, I had already received a refund on the book and certainly was going to have Amazon manually remove it from my digital orders if I still could not get into the book with giving it a second look.

I kept reading past the first few chapters and before I knew it, I had read over half of the book - ingesting every word, every sentence and every paragraph.  I lost some sleep last night reading it into the wee hours of the morning. After reading over half the book and realizing that Amazon was not auto-magically removing it from my device, I went back and re-purchased the book. Because, 1) that was absolutely the right thing to do - to pay for a book that I was, indeed, reading and 2) since I am an author as well, I know how difficult it is to release a book and get returns and/or negative reviews when you work your heart out on a new release - so repurchasing it was a no-brainer for me.

I am a person who has a difficult time with being creative or allowing creativity to flow within me and Big Magic opened my eyes to the creative process (or at least the author's creative process) of writing.  I struggle with giving myself permission to take the time to write and also with giving myself permission to fail.

The chapter on perfectionism is a gold-mine of information and truly spoke directly to me.  The other analogies and lessons in the book are geared towards writers, artists and the like, but can easily be applied to any occupation in life.  The key is to apply these principles in everything that you attempt in life and watch the results turn into positive experiences.

The biggest realization from the book is that all of us are creators or makers, no matter what our occupations are and we need to own whatever it is in life that makes us who we are. I see now how this makes a difference in my own life.

I have to whole-heartedly say that I was completely WRONG  about the book after reading the first few pages and am so glad that the Universe tugged at me to try the book again.  I am happy that I did go back a second time as the words finally resonated with me even after my initial resistance to them.

Big Magic was working Big Time and I am thankful that I listened! Thank you Ms. Gilbert for writing Big Magic!


  1. Talk about coincidence! I was just on Amazon and saw an ad for Big Magic. I checked out the details page and read the "Look Inside" but couldn't decide whether to buy it so thought I'd leave it for now because often those kinds of books don't live up to their promise. Came straight onto my emails and found your blog post - I think I'll take that as a sign I'm supposed to buy it!

  2. I think that coincidences are really the Universe speaking to us. Yes, Mel, go buy the book! I hope you get as much out of it as I did. :-)

  3. Hadn't actually heard of this book, but I must've seen it in a newsletter cause the cover is really familiar to me. Odd. However, I wanted to say that I've had what you said happen to me with books. Not the whole return the book and Amazon not remove it thing, but the not clicking part. I've found that sometimes it's not necessarily the book as much as it's me — something throws off my mind. When that happens it makes it so that I'm not processing what I'm reading like I normally do, if at all, and when I come back to it later I find that the book usually clicks where it didn't before. I'm glad this book clicked for you in the end. =)

    1. Thank you so much for the response. It is rare for me to return a book and even rarer for me to purchase the same book after not being able to "get into" it. But, this one kept calling to me and I am glad I gave it another try, especially since I am a huge fan of the author.