cover image The Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself

The Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself

Joan Anderson, . . Hyperion/Voice, $23.95 (205pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-0339-6

After the publication of her first book of self-transformation (A Year by the Sea ) in 1999, Anderson writes of being consumed by a pressing schedule and a web of family cares that have derailed her from her original trajectory of self-truth. While her first journey consisted of separating herself from a previous life that had defined her as compliant and dependent (a wife and mother), her current journey involves taking stock of the progress and strengths gained in the previous 10 years. She attempted to get back on track by discounting “counterfeit journeys” (such as illusory ambition), refusing to be blackmailed by her ailing mother and resisting the urge to join her grown children’s already-charged households over Christmas. Instead, she found sustenance in weekend seminars with other women; a pilgrimage to Monomoy, Cape Cod; and a magical three-week stint to the island of Iona, Scotland. Self-help platitudes abound, as Anderson quotes her mentor Joan Erikson (“The most important thing is to share what you know”), and her similes grow tiresome (she compares herself to a tangled, empty lobster trap). For readers eager for more, though, she does drop hints of marital discord and of leaving her journey unfinished. (May)