TAKE IT FROM ME: Life's a Struggle But You Can Win

Erin Brockovich, Author with Marc Eliot. McGraw-Hill $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-07-138379-0

Motivational authors often tell stories of triumphing over adversity, but few become the powerful cultural icon that Brockovich has, complete with an Oscar-winning movie bearing her name. A flashy blond with a big chest, Brockovich says that people often ask how she, a single mother without a bachelor's degree or a paralegal certificate, managed to bring down the colossal PG&E for knowingly poisoning the water supply of Hinkley, Calif. She offers this book as her answer. In simple, informal prose, with a sparkling sense of humor, Brockovich describes her childhood and her wild adolescence. As important as her family, who taught her values, ethics and perseverance, was one high school teacher who recognized her dyslexia and showed her that she was smart and able to succeed, permanently changing her self-image and enabling her to graduate and enroll in fashion college. Several jobs, a few boyfriends, two husbands, three children and many hardships later, Brockovich was living in California, recovering from a car crash and in need of a job, which she found in the offices of her lawyer, and thus begins the now familiar tale. Even after the $333-million PG&E settlement, of which she received $2.5 million (before taxes), Brockovich endured an extortion attempt, a custody battle, seeing two of her children through drug rehab and having her dream house turn out to be filled with toxic mold. Her story is absorbing, and her advice is down-to-earth, accessible and heartfelt. Her "Inner Strength Workout" and "Shorthand Guide to Winning Life's Struggles" offer practical lessons in honesty, integrity, belief in oneself and "stick-to-it-iveness." Agent, Mel Berger. (Dec.)

Forecast:As motivational self-help books go, this one is right up there with the best. Because of her fame (due to the movie) and her flashy style (for which she is criticized, but would she get as much attention if she were dowdy?), Brockovich is in a unique position to inspire and enlighten people. This book may crack bestseller lists.

Reviewed on: 11/12/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
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