By Susan Schorn
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25.00, 290 pages
When I first saw the title of this book Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly, I knew I had to read this book. I love reading anything that helps me build my confidence and gives tips about living life to the fullest. The problem was this book was more of a memoir than a self help book. Author Susan Schorn writes about her experiences with karate and tells her stories about learning various life lessons. Nowhere in the novel do they give tips about living fearlessly or really anything other than one big advertisement for taking karate and self defense classes.
Each chapter starts with an old Chinese proverb and then Schorn goes into a story about how she learned that lesson. At no point does she say anything about what a typical person can do to try living fearlessly. The entire novel is stories of how the author learned each lesson, which is why this book is more of a memoir than self help. While the stories were interesting, this reviewer felt that the title of the book is misleading. Sure there are lessons in each chapter but no concrete tips about how to live to learn each lesson. I recommend this book as a good biography but definitely not as a self help. If you are looking for lessons on living fearlessly, look elsewhere because this book is not it.
Reviewed by Nicole Will