ROMANCING THE ORDINARY: A Year of Simple Splendor

Sarah Ban Breathnach, Author . Scribner $24 (576p) ISBN 978-0-7432-1877-1

"Women were created to experience, interpret, revel in, and unravel the mysteries of Life through their senses," declares Breathnach (Simple Abundance), insisting that women have two extra senses: those of "knowing" and "wonder." Breathnach then works her way through the calendar year, offering tips to women to free their "essensual" selves. Much of the advice (e.g., make your own scented sachets and foot lotions) is rote. At times, Breathnach herself criticizes the commercialization of the sensual. For example, the bath is a "waterfall of delight" that's being "snuffed out by the banality of the self-enhancement poseurs." Homemade is the best way to go, says Breathnach, and even the hours spent preparing various potions are a gift in themselves. On the other hand, she heartily endorses purchasing gourmet fruits, "essensual sets of underwear," silk sheets and other luxuries, since these items also pleasure the senses. Fortunately, the object of all this pampering isn't just to attract a mate. Breathnach urges women to stop focusing on finding a partner and to "learn the sacred soulcraft of self-nurture." While exhortations to "become your own courtesan" may seem narcissistic, the message will strike a welcome chord among women who've learned that sacrificing for others isn't always worth it. At times Breathnach is unintentionally funny—she recommends taking Beckett plays to the laundromat to "try on for size being an intellectual." But her occasionally pretentious use of quotations and capitalized references to the Spirit and the Divinity shouldn't stop her fans from pampering their Inner Goddess. (Oct.)

Forecast:An author tour and the success of Simple Abundance ensure hearty holiday sales.

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-0909-1
Desk - 112 pages - 978-0-7893-0907-5
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-7434-2883-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-0908-4
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