How Nature Healed a Broken Soul

Non-Fiction - Memoir
286 Pages
Reviewed on 11/23/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

How Nature Healed a Broken Soul is a work of non-fiction in the memoir, slice-of-life, and inspirational writing subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was largely penned by author Penny James but finished and prepared for publication by her sister after her death in 2019. Readers are invited to explore the author’s remarkable life journey from being a beauty contest winner in Colorado to becoming a world-renowned fashion model. With a career spanning eleven years working with prestigious agencies like Wilhelmina and Ford, Penny graced the covers of Playboy five times, yet she never agreed to a centerfold. Penny's unwavering faith in God, her belief in the interconnectedness of all beings on Earth, and her ultimate healing journey serve as inspiring and transformative lessons for the reader. This book not only provides insight into Penny's life but also imparts valuable wisdom about recovery, spirituality, and finding solace in nature.

Author Penny James and the dedicated family who have helped her words come into print have achieved a masterpiece that captures all the complexities of life and the strength to overcome even the darkest moments we are faced with. I was particularly interested in the discussions where Penny dealt with her alcoholism, and I felt these were penned with raw emotion but also a wise sense of hindsight that will bring great comfort to anyone experiencing a similar situation. The elegant prose speaks of Penny’s personality, her strength, and her good nature, and the work is a poignant and engaging account of a life transformed by all sorts of exciting and difficult experiences. But it is also a testament to the power of faith, resilience, and the healing force of nature. Penny James's legacy lives on through this touching memoir, and overall I would not hesitate to recommend How Nature Healed a Broken Soul to anyone in search of faith and hope.

Edith Wairimu

In her moving, inspiring memoir, How Nature Healed a Broken Soul, Penny James chronicles her life from her beautiful childhood memories of her grandmother’s house to her illustrious modeling career and addiction recovery journey. James grew up going to her grandmother’s lovely homestead in Huerfano County, Colorado which she considered her true home. She won Miss Colorado in 1962 and later transitioned to modeling full-time. James's modeling career lasted over a decade during which she worked for Wilhelmina and Ford agencies. She covers her marriage, divorce, and the addictions that plagued her life for years. She documents how she overcame them through nature and her growing faith in God, including her wonderful experiences in her farmhouse in Pennsylvania.

Steeped in captivating history, this memorable memoir invites readers on a profound journey from the stunning landscapes in Huerfano County to the lively nightlife in Chicago and New York City. It is a heartfelt story that expertly portrays the highs and lows of James’s life. With skill, it shows the devastating impact of alcoholism and drug addiction and inspires hope in those facing similar struggles. James candidly covers her marriage and her fascinating experiences as an acclaimed model. She captures nature’s beauty and healing ability beautifully while adeptly depicting the harmonious relationship that can exist between humans and animals. An unforgettable memoir with many encouraging lessons, How Nature Healed a Broken Soul by Penny James will appeal to fans of memoirs and anyone looking for a hope-filled, compelling read.

Frank Mutuma

The Kennedy dramas, the rise of Oprah and her contribution to women's rights issues, civil rights, antiwar demonstrations, and Andy Warhol art are some of the historically significant events captured in How Nature Healed a Broken Soul by Penny James. It had been a dilemma for Penny to choose between her job at United Airlines and becoming a full-time model, but her boss encouraged her to choose to model as there were no prospects of promotion in the airline. Penny's upbringing hadn't been easy, and these experiences played a key role in shaping her. She loved the countryside, and every spring she would be homesick to visit her grandma in Gardener, Colorado. To find out about her modeling career, self-indulgence, and how things turn out, get a copy of this book.

Memoirs can be tedious, but not How Nature Healed a Broken Soul by Penny James. I was hooked from the first chapter to the last. Penny is very candid about her life's journey. I loved the keen attention to detail and the vivid descriptions of events, places, and emotions, which helped create a mental picture of what was happening, making it very enjoyable. The steady narration also keeps one looking forward to subsequent chapters, and the easy-to-understand language used by Penny leaves no room for confusion for the reader. Readers will also appreciate the social issues covered, such as marriage, tolerance, and the thorny issue of drug abuse that is becoming rampant in society. I look forward to reading something else by this talented author.