cover image How to Walk into a Room: The Art of Knowing When to Stay and When to Walk Away

How to Walk into a Room: The Art of Knowing When to Stay and When to Walk Away

Emily P. Freeman. HarperOne, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-332882-2

The Next Right Thing podcaster Freeman (The Next Right Thing) offers a level-headed and spiritually inflected guide to starting over. According to Freeman, if life is a house, “at some point we’ll find ourselves... looking around at familiar rooms and questioning if it’s time to move on.” She encourages readers to recognize when a job, community, relationship, or commitment “no longer seem[s] to fit”; take stock of power dynamics, expectations, and emotional associations (“What’s not working here? To what extent can I be myself in this room?”); and consult their own values to determine “what is worth protecting,” what should be cast away, and what must be changed if the decision is to stay. Later chapters touch on regrouping after seismic upheavals, finding closure (or accepting the lack thereof), and entering “new rooms” that better align with one’s personal values. Freeman’s abundant questions, prayers, and exercises will inspire productive reflection, but the emotional center of this guide is the author’s decision to leave their church of seven years after one of their children began questioning their sexuality. Freeman’s firsthand knowledge of how pain and resolve can coexist during life’s turning points suffuses the narrative. This is a wise and compassionate resource for those looking to begin their next chapter. (Mar.)