The Messy Joys of Being Human: A Guide to Risking Change and Becoming Happier

Helen Rosenau. Riverview, $17 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-7325337-5-2

Rosenau, a writer and visual artist, passionately advocates for readers to do the deep reflective work she feels is necessary to live joyful lives. She divides her lessons into five sections: “Getting to Know Us,” which helps readers assess their present situations and reflect on hopes for the future; “Our Messy Joys,” which encourages readers to reexamine limiting beliefs; “Risking Change,” which advises on how to makes changes intelligently and with intention; “Learning to Fly,” which counsels readers to stay on the self-growth road and not succumb to worries; and “You, Me, Us,” which exhorts the virtues of living a life full of love. Along the way, Rosenau shares her own insecurities and past missteps, such as her dedication to a “visioning collage” filled with “worldly aspirations” like writing a New York Times bestseller. She also provides helpful instructions for readers to dig deeper with writing prompts at the end of each chapter. “Chances to grow are rarely easy or fun,” she writes, advising readers not shy away from hard introspection. Though she provides no easy answers, Rosenau’s set of practices, inspiring prose, and questions for contemplation will be of use to readers looking for guidance without demanding strictures. (BookLife)