Afternoon friends and hangers-on! Today’s offering is a little bit different to my usual fare – a concise non-fiction book for the young adult crowd. Jawbreaker: Unlock the (U)niverse by Jolene Stockman is a short motivational book dealing with those tricky issues of adolescence (and let’s face it, beyond), identity and personal power. I was drawn in by another blogger tipping us off about copies for review, and was promptly and enthusiastically rewarded by Ms Stockman herself speedily supplying me with an e-copy. And so, to my end of the bargain – an honest review!
Stockman is a clever little Kiwi cookie as evidenced by her bio:
Jolene is an award winning writer, speaker, and an expert for Girlfriend Magazine Australia. She is a Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming, and one of the youngest in the world to achieve the Distinguished Toastmaster Award. Jolene is the author of Jawbreaker: Unlock the (U)niverse, The Jelly Bean Crisis, and Total Blueprint for World Domination. She lives in New Zealand and is currently workingon two new books. Learn more at www.jolenestockman.com
I must admit I was a little intimidated in launching into Jawbreaker, but I was happily reassured after the first page or two that I was in safe hands for my journey into the oft-tangled thicket of personal insight. I was also afraid that the motivational speaker-ese language of the introductory chapter would continue throughout the book, triggering my jump onto the first step of an escalator spiralling downward toward my own personal hell. But it didn’t! Huzzah! Instead, I was treated to a highly readable and actually motivating tome that provided food for thought and practical suggestions across a range of personal circumstances, as opposed to the many faux-motivational tomes out there that are thinly veiled attempts to make you purchase the author’s DVD collection, week-to-a-view illustrated diary, essential oils travel kit and line of motivational lingerie.
Essentially, the book hinges around the analogy of the Jawbreaker – the idea that we all have a unique, special centre that is the essence of who we are, and that around this centre, by chance, habit or design, we build layers that become our identity.
Read it if:
* you much prefer your many-layered, multi-faceted personality to be represented metaphorically as a tantalising, colourful, mouth-watering Jawbreaker, rather than a stinky, tear-duct burning, halitosis-inducing onion
*you are, or ever were, a young person who suspects that one’s position in the schoolyard social hierarchy will have little to no bearing on your life once you pass through the school gate for the final time
*you like your self-help to be palatable, easily digestible within one sitting and with a side order of sass
One of the great strengths of this book is the concise format – it really can be read in one sitting. It is also divided into handy little chapters for those with short attention spans, or for those who are looking for an encouraging word in a particular area. Another helpful thing about the book is the practical exercises that are offered with various topics – these are simple, quick activities that illustrate the points being made and allow the reader to apply the information as superficially or deeply as they wish.
For example, Stockman discusses “anchoring” positive emotions to particular objects, places, or smells as a means of easily recalling those emotions when you need a boost. I found this a particularly helpful tip and immediately got down to some practice:
Here I am anchoring the feeling of comfort and calm to a beanie that Mad Martha kindly made for me. Now whenever I feel a bit out of sorts, I can don my beanie and immediately benefit from its association with positive feelings of peace. Thanks, Ms Stockman!
Another concept discussed in the book is the idea of a personal Fuse, or the knowledge of a particular activity or pursuit that really speaks to your passions and connects you to that part of your identity that is most important and essential to who you are. Again, the shelf denizens found this intriguing and began reflecting on the activities that light their own fuses….
Take Mad Martha for instance, who is particularly enamoured with the art of crochet. Here she is making Christmas stockings for the mini-fleshlings in the dwelling. See how she glows with happiness at the ability to express love and warm regard through the medium of yarn. Clearly, this is her Fuse!
The whole book is chock-full of little snuggets of useful information, like those that got the shelf-denizens so worked up. Really, this book would make a fantastic graduation present for older teens as they prepare to venture out into the world of “being a grown-up”. Alternatively, I think there’s a lot here that would excite those in their early teens who have a certain level of personal insight and could benefit from a guiding hand in the form of some encouraging and challenging home truths. And as evidenced by our enthusiastic participation, there’s also plenty in there for adults looking for a supportive nudge and someone to say, “Hey! You’re super!” (preferably in a Kiwi accent. I found it greatly enhanced the authenticity of the experience).
If I’ve whetted your appetite for personal development, you can purchase Jawbreaker, along with Jolene’s other books, here.
And may I casually point out, to those considering partaking of the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge, 2014, that Jawbreaker: Unlock the (U)niverse, would make the perfect choice for category eight (a book with some form of wordplay in the title)?
Until next time,