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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
All You’ll Never Be: Because of Who You Are by E. L. Neve is what the author describes as “A thought-provoking, smiling book.” And that description brilliantly sums up this charming, witty, whimsical self-help presentation which the author also refers to as only a “ten-minute” read. Yes, the author is pretty accurate about that, a ten-minute read like a Wallace Stevens’ poem. The book has one or two sentences per page, with some addendums. But like a Stevens' poem, it’s a short read but with a lifetime of thought! The author addresses the reader directly, perhaps like speaking to a bright but puzzled child. However, despite the numerous illustrations (charming to the hilt), the book’s message is for us adults. It’s for adults who are having identity questions, who might have failed to achieve a goal (or goals), and who are looking for some answers—or who might simply be charmed into happiness by the mere look of the pages.
I must admit I was more captivated by the illustrations on every page, enhanced by the various typefaces. Throughout life, author E. L. Neve has observed a pattern of unhappiness as if we are staring at it like a transposed mirror image (which I interpreted as our looking at the wrong causes of our personal despair). The bulk of the book is taken up by the five “thoughts” that have changed the author’s life and that will change ours as well. The wonderful experience for me, however, was the incredibly delightful graphics which I paused to fit into each page’s message. Really, I’ve never seen anything quite like them, but fitting the images with the words was a challenge that ended up taking two wonderful hours, not the promised ten minutes. Besides self-help ideas, this book will make a great gift for someone feeling low (or not), a coffee table book, or even one for kids, who might interpret the metaphors more instinctively than we adults. E. L. Neve’s positivity and creative genius make All You’ll Never Be: Because of Who You Are a true delight. As the author promises, it will provoke your thoughts and make you smile.