The Diva Doctrine
Written: Patricia V. Davis
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Obtained from: Netgalley
Patricia V. Davis may be the first to tell you she’s an expert in failed relationships. But ask any of the readers who helped a post on her advice blog go viral, and they’ll say that whether you’re wide-eyed twenty-something dreamer, the world’s grooviest grandma, or something in between, there’s no one better able to help you on your way to becoming aTrue Diva!
This is a non-fiction interlude to our (ir)regularly scheduled SF/F reviews. I saw this book on NetGalley and was intrigued. How does a single blog post become a book contract? What kind of advice does Ms. Davis have that is so applicable to the rest of female kind?
The problem with most self-help books is that they very rarely tell you anything that you couldn’t figure out for yourself. They may present them a little better, and they’re great at giving you little blurbs and quotes to chant to yourself in times of stress — but they even more rarely have anything to say that’s of tangible value.
The Diva Doctrine doesn’t really contain any information that a woman can’t learn from experience. Nearly every woman will eventually have a bad relationship, a dead-weight friendship, or a disagreement with family. And nearly every woman will eventually learn how to take care of herself inside and out. Some of us end up taking a bit longer than others to learn these lessons, though. Some women even need to learn them over and over again.
The author’s goal here is to lay out these learning experiences in terms that someone who hasn’t lived them can understand. If you haven’t yet figured out confidence, how to say no, where to draw the line, or how to take care of yourself – then you are in the target audience for this book. The original blog post that inspired the book was framed as advice ‘From an Older Woman to a Younger One’.
If the author wasn’t so warm and funny, it might have sounded pretentious. So it’s a good thing that she manages to sound self-effacing: matter-of-fact about her mistakes and like she is genuinely writing to help people, and not to simply create a book that those desperate for help will buy.
Will the advice in this book be life-changing? Ehhhh… I’m not so sure about that. Maybe if I’d had it at fifteen and been willing to accept and follow it. Are the author’s words personable, endearing, and entertaining? Yes, absolutely. Sometimes we all need reminders about being good to ourselves, how to banishing negativity (both internal and external), and how to find but not force love.
This is a perfect commiseration book. If you’re feeling down and want some sympathy from a woman who’s “been there” (or done worse), this book can certainly provide it.
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