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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
There could be only thing more impressive than reading Punch Happy by Lux Alani. That would be having the opportunity to meet her in person and/or to hear her talk at one of her speaking engagements. What an inspiring woman and author! In her intro, Lux Alani tells readers that Punch Happy is a call to “get strong” and suggests we might even see ourselves in these pages. If you’ve ever struggled, really struggled, and let yourself succumb to the “inner critic” who resides in us all, to that voice which keeps us from picking ourselves up off the floor and taking charge of our lives, you need to read Punch Happy. You can throw away just about all of the other self-help books gathering dust on your shelves: they won’t motivate, inspire and make you feel like you can do anything to which you put your mind the way Punch Happy will.
The author uses a conversational, in your face approach to drive home her points. She hits hard …”boom, smack, thud, whop”… just as she does to the bag when she’s boxing. She loves “the jolt of sensation” and “sweep of endorphins” that surge through her as she punches the bag, and her words have the same effect on the reader. Even if we are not boxing fans, we find ourselves surprised, energized and motivated by every jolting word, to the point where we want to jump into the ring with her. And that’s exactly what Lux Alani wants us to do, at least mentally if not physically.
Punch Happy is a wake-up call to action. Alani wants us to punch hard and savour the “sweet-ass relief of bypassing all the should’s and don’ts,” not just those to which we subject our bodies, but with which we clutter our minds. Punch Happy empowers women, gives them back their self-confidence. But the empowerment which she sees is one of “compassionate strength” because those who have survived dehumanization are “potential humanitarians.” How right she is.
Like one of her boxing idols, Muhammad Ali (and the author shares stories about, and quotes the words of many of them), Lux Alani embraces the impossible. Punch Happy is full of quotable quotes, her own and those of others, that hit you between the eyes and leave a permanent mark in your psyche. Alani is one clever and gifted writer who is a master of metaphor e.g. “facades left on hangers” (in the gym change-room). The writer in me reads Punch Happy envious, but marveling at the author’s way with words. And when she states: “We are all works in progress, all syncopated rhythms and missed beats and soaring improvisors,” we agree with her that the “point is not to die with your music still in you.” Hell yeah, Lux Alani!