Loving Ordinary Life

The Self-Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self-Help Books

Non-Fiction - Motivational
104 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Anastasia Petrenko was born in Ukraine, where she spent every summer in her grandparents’ village, cultivating the land, studying the piano, and reading as many books as she could get her hands on. Though she suffered from chronic depression, she found the resources within herself to rise out of despair and value her identity. Now she works to help others do the same.

As a young adult, Anastasia traveled to more than 25 countries, studying, working, and exploring across Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia. She quickly gained fluency in Russian, English, and Spanish before becoming an author. She now helps other impassioned people write, publish, and promote their own written works through her company Identity Publications.

Anastasia enjoys working regularly with children in mentoring and volunteering positions. She values integrity, fair treatment, and nurturing healthy development through optimizing environments for human growth. When she’s not intimidating boys with her strength and intellect, you can find her practicing yoga or listening to lectures by Jordan Peterson with a cup of matcha tea and a kitten at her side.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Loving Ordinary Life by Anastasia Petrenko is a sweet little book whose cover instantly catches your eye and interest. While the sub-title states this is a “self-help” book, it might be more accurate to describe it as a “feel-good” book because it’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the mind. That’s because of the colourful, cartoon-like illustrations by Rina Kapustina that introduce each short chapter, along with the red swirls and squiggles that brighten the pages or encircle important points presented in large, friendly fonts that appeal to the child in each of us and help us remember the important lessons the book teaches.

Adding to the feel-good enjoyment of this quick read is the large print, making it easy to read whether you are sixteen or sixty. And though the book is geared toward adults, many of the concepts could be used by elementary school teachers in younger grades. For instance, the author encourages us to listen to and not just hear music. Students might explore the difference between the two. She suggests that contrary to the usual advice that one listen to upbeat music when we feel depressed, we might listen to sadder, melancholy music to tune in to how it makes us feel and why.

Loving Ordinary Life encourages people to stop rushing through their days. Petrenko suggests we enjoy the process of working our way through projects or challenges as much as reaching the desired finish. She reminds us to take in the beauties of nature all around us and appreciate that we wouldn’t see them if it weren’t for our gift of sight. It makes one immediately think of those who are blind and never have that wonderful experience. And peppered liberally throughout the book are positive quotations and thoughts that are worth printing out and sticking on our work space as reminders of what matters when life is getting us down. As Anastasia Petrenko points out, Loving Ordinary Life is “designed so you can open any page and find the inspiration to act and improve your life when you’re feeling down.” Well, together with her illustrator, Rina Kapustina, and her mentor and editor, Gregory V. Diehl, that goal has been realized.

Jack Magnus

Loving Ordinary Life: The Self-Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self-Help Books is a nonfiction motivational self-help handbook written by Anastasia Petrenko and illustrated by Rina Kapustina. Petrenko is convinced that there are better ways of helping people to make real changes in their lives besides having them attempt to follow the prescriptions found in the typical self-help book. In her introduction, she explains how her goal is to facilitate a “functional difference” in the quality of the reader’s life. Rather than giving instructions on how to “treat depression,” she prefers to show how one can live a life “where depression has no place.” She invites the reader to look through her book and see which suggestions work for them, trying some, passing over others. She begins with a section on Self-Awareness, which promises that with a little work, the life you want can be yours. Learning about self-awareness and the ability to transform your present life can help you achieve your ideals. Further chapters include information on how sounds, words, visualizations and the enjoyment of nature can help one begin to discover how much they can love their ordinary lives.

Anastasia Petrenko’s Loving Ordinary Life: The Self-Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self-Help Books is, indeed, a refreshing change from the typical didactic text which promises everything and sets out pages of exercises, goals and discussion questions, which often turn out less motivational than discouraging. Petrenko’s approach to life is a gentler one and her book reflects that. Her Dedication - “For those who are seeking beauty” - gave me insights into her approach even before I began turning the page. The book is laid out in a welcoming and easily followed format with illustrations by Rina Kapustina, which are both wise and humorous. Petrenko employs a conversational style of writing, which sets one immediately at ease and makes following the gist of her message smooth and effortless. There are indeed simple, yet life-changing techniques to be found within this deceptively slim volume, and they are well worth the time spent deciding if they’ll work for you. Loving Ordinary Life: The Self-Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self-Help Books is most highly recommended.

Patricia Reding

Dedicated to those seeking beauty, Loving Ordinary Life by Anastasia Petrenko approaches ten concepts, starting with self-awareness, touching on such things as sound, words, and nature, and then ending with self-love. Intending to speak to those who find themselves in a time of pain and despair, this work suggests ways a person can create a life in which depression has no place. Each chapter, in the author’s words, “is a tool for moving from a negative idle state to a positive proactive” one.

Opening with the premise that because anything can be changed, a person can create the life they would like, Anastasia Petrenko challenges each reader in a variety of ways. Within these pages, you may find yourself more aware of your body and emotions. Add in a discussion on the importance of concentrating more closely on how to use the gifts of sound and music, and you may create, build, or change your feelings and emotions. If you are looking for joy, these pages could help you to discover that you can use words to bring joy to yourself, or that you can focus on things that are pleasing to your eye. In today’s rush and hurry world, it is fitting that the author challenges readers to consider the value of spending time with nature and of enjoying simple pleasures.

Anastasia Petrenko suggests that the secrets to ending despair may come in the form of finding meaningful hobbies or spending time with positive people. With the assistance of simple illustrations by Rina Kapustina, this self-help journey (for those tired of self-help books) helps readers to discover the value of setting priorities and of being true to themselves. It is a simple and straightforward read that would be perfect for the occasional quick devotion, or found in the waiting rooms of health care providers.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

Have you had enough of self help books that don't help? Or maybe you need something different; perhaps a reminder of how to stay the course. If you have a shelf of books that are supposed to get you on the right track and they just aren't working, then maybe you need something simpler than the convoluted, mystic advice of doctors and advisers or well worn platitudes. Perhaps you need something simpler to speak to your soul and guide you from where you are right now. Loving Ordinary Life: The Self Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self Help Books by Anastasia Petrenko is a the book you're looking for. It gives you simple, practical advice on how to start from where you are to create a life where depression and despair have no room. It simply tells you how to create the life you want by creating a new mindset about the life you have.

I've read a lot of self help books, and Loving Ordinary Life: The Self Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self Help Books hits the nail on the head with simple, practical advice. Anastasia Petrenko does a great job of telling it like it is, and giving readers simple steps to spruce up life to make what you've got better. The lovely illustrations by Rina Kapustina add to this book by giving it spirit and color to connect with readers in a different way than you usually see in these guides. It's a good, quick read with advice that's practical and simple to apply in your life, where you are, right now. I highly recommend it. You won't regret it!

Patricia Bell

Loving Ordinary Life: The Self-Help Book for People Who Are Tired of Self-Help Books by Anastasia Petrenko is a quaint little book about the different ways you can positively affect your own life. It focuses on areas which can help change the way you feel about yourself, life and others, such as self-awareness, sounds, words, nature, actions, recreation, people, lifestyles and self-love. With each point, Anastasia Petrenko gives specific ideas on ways that will help the reader to have a more positive outlook on their life, and tools to help when feeling less than happy or secure about self worth. There are also nice quotes by several famous people from Maya Angelou to Rudyard Kipling.

Loving Ordinary Life is exactly what it claims to be. A self-help book for those who are tired of self-help books. It’s an extremely easy read and is not dulled down by boring statistics or droning reports. It’s laid out nicely with easy to read clips of information and pleasant pictures. I enjoyed several parts of this book. For instance, how powerful the use of music can be to energize you or cheer you up and how you cannot love someone else, the world, or life without loving yourself. All in all, the book seems to be more of a reminder of the basic ideas that most people should already know, but don’t always put into practice. Thanks to Anastasia Petrenko for an inspirational guide to keeping one’s self intact in the harsh reality we call life.