Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World

Lizzie Velasquez, with Catherine Avril Morris. Hachette, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-27243-8
Debut author and motivational speaker Velasquez delivers a heartfelt and powerful treatise about the importance of being kind, gleaned from first-hand experience. The author, who has neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare combination of Marfan syndrome and lipodystrophy that prevents her from gaining weight, was bullied in school and online. One day she found that a picture of her had been made into a cruel meme that identified her as the “world’s ugliest woman,” accompanied by comments like “Why didn’t her parents abort her?” “Not one comment was kind,” Velasquez remembers. Velasquez’s solution to this kind of harassment is to create a “culture of kindness,” extended even toward bullies. This might seem inconceivable, she admits, but she believes it’s the only way to solve the problem of bullying. She also points out that serious challenges can bring personal depth and understanding that’s impossible without those lessons. The author doesn’t pretend to be a Pollyanna, however—like anyone else, she has faced dark times, even becoming for a time addicted to anti-anxiety meds. Velasquez counsels readers to lose the shame over their problems—it’s a complete waste of time and energy—and focus on their own gifts. Readers will be inspired by Velasquez’s resilient spirit. Agent: Cassie Hanjian, Waxman Leavell Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-316-27245-2
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-316-27246-9
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