Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness

Brigid Delaney. Greystone, $17.95 ISBN 978-1-77164-370-2
Delaney, a lifestyle journalist, takes the reader through her 12-year search for wellness in this amusing memoir. She belatedly realizes that navel-gazing may not be healthy as she relentlessly pursues all that the wellness industry offers in sections titled after the holy trinity of wellness goals: “Clean” (eating healthily), “Lean” (getting into shape), and “Serene” (finding happiness). In “Clean,” the reader joins her in a grueling 101-day fast in Australia, her homeland. She combines vivid descriptions, such as of a required daily herb drink described as resembling, in taste, flat beer with 10 cigarettes mixed in; hysterical accounts, such as of her stealing breakfast from a business associate; and medical explanations of what’s really happening to her body. “Lean” looks at the benefits of daily yoga as well as its drawbacks, such as rampant consumerism and commodification. The meatiest section, “Serene,” explores meditation retreats, from a spooky monastery to an off-the-wall new age retreat where psychotherapy is practiced. Delaney is generous in sharing her experiences and skillful in weaving them into reported facts, but stingy in doling out conclusions. She offers only two paragraphs of concrete advice, which basically boils down to “build a routine.” Still, the book gives copious examples of how one could start doing that. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
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