Iyanla Vanzant is a woman of color with flaws, weaknesses, strengths, gifts, and a vision. You may recognize her from The Oprah Winfrey Show. You may already be familiar with her books. But Peace From Broken Pieces is different. It's not the typical self-help, preachy book filled with devotions and tips for women. It is more of a memoir. A look into Ms. Iyanla's life, her personal journey, her family struggles, and career path. It doesn't get more personal than this.
The prologue begins with Ms. Iyanla reliving Christmas Day in 2003. It is 1:00 a.m. and she's awake at her daughter Gemmia's house. The entire family is there reminiscing about the good 'ole days in Brooklyn. Gemmia was slipping in and out of consciousness before taking her last breath. Iyanla's beloved daughter wasn't the only one to die that Christmas morning. So did her marriage, her ministry, her career, her vision, and her life's purpose as she'd known it. Of course by losing all of this suddenly, a part of Iyanla herself died. This was the moment she realized her life had fallen apart.
Do you ever wake up one day and realize your life has fallen apart? Your dreams have fallen to the wayside. Life happened and screwed up your personal agenda. It's very hard to determine that one particular event that causes things to fall apart. Often times it doesn't happen suddenly, but instead piece by piece. Iyanla writes candidly about these pieces that broke her life.
Her friends and family encouraged her to write about it all. Leaving The Oprah Winfrey Show (her version), starting her own show and failing, ending her 37-year relationship through a divorce by e-mail, losing her mother to breast cancer, losing her daughter to colon cancer, ultimately losing her wits and contemplating suicide. She writes about becoming a New York Times bestselling author, but damn near homeless. And she also tells readers about friends, family, prayer, and faith that helped her through it all. Through her words, I felt her emotion through the e-pages. I felt her pain, struggle, joy, fear, anger, and urge to fight. Oh, I even felt her tears and then finally her peace.
Throughout the memoir-type book, Iyanla drops jewels of knowledge. The priestess writes lessons in a non-preachy way. Some lessons you pick up on your own through reading about the details of her life. I found myself thinking, "Okay, this a mistake I won't make." It's a book filled of cause-and-effect examples, along with karma. It also provides a great example of how people will put on a cute face and keep up appearances, when behind closed doors there is terror and turmoil. You're scared to ask for outside help. You're scared to reveal true feelings and let your struggle be known. Instead, you go broke keeping up with the Joneses and holding it all in. Sound familiar? We all know these kind of people; I may have even just described you.
I took so many notes that I'm sure to review again when necessary. I can't recommend this book enough. Even if you think you aren't going through something in life, it is worthy of your time and brain space. I was never a fan of hers. I actually never paid that much attention to her books before. But I am definitely glad I tried this one. Check out the trailer below and add Peace from Broken Pieces to your reading pile.
Title: Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through
Author: Iyanla Vanzant
Published: November 2010
Pages: 305 pages