Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Patricia Zerman’s book, Twelve Guaranteed Ways To Stay Miserable, Or Not, is like a lifeline for the depressed, rejected, and anxious. Zerman has a delightful and humorous way of reaching people. Her style is unique and refreshing.
Private Detective Rutgar and his faithful dog, Rocky, are on a mission to find out why people like to live in Misery. “People continuously ask Rutgar to get them out of messes instead of doing it themselves. He helps them out. But they never seem to learn. Until they help themselves, they will never truly resolve the problem.”
“Many people live in Misery; they may say they want to leave but they rarely do.” Posted at the city's entrance was a list of 12 rules and regulations for living there. Among the rules were:
• Never Be Selfish
• Avoid and Pretend
• Stay Immobilized in Fear
• Lie To Yourself and Others
• React and Become Defensive
• Rationalize, Analyze and Stuff
• Point One Finger Out
• Manipulate and Have Motives
• Swim In Guilt and Carry the Burdens of the World
• Hold Onto Your Anger, Resentment and Blame
• Don’t Ever Risk
I won’t explain each of the rules in this review...read the book. Unfortunately, I saw myself in several of these rules. I followed along with Rutgar and Rocky on their quest. Like them, I found Misery disgusting and not a place where I want to stay. Rutgar knew there was a better way to live. With the desire to help others, Rutgar created his own list: Twelve Guaranteed Ways To Leave Misery. Again,….Read the book for more information.
Zerman continues her book by expounding on each “step” for leaving Misery behind. After each step is discussed, she has “Suggested Starting Points.” One of the most important parts of this book is the Appendix. It is putting into action what you learned from reading the book. One of the suggestions is to learn to say, "Thank You" for the bad times as well as the good ones. Unpleasant experiences show us where we are emotionally “stuck.””You are thanking this mess for reminding you something is stuck inside you.” Zerman points out the positive: “To love ourselves, to express ourselves, we are worthy, etc.” There is much more I would love to tell you about but then you wouldn’t read the book.
I love Zerman’s approach. It is unique to what most counselors would take. She is an encourager. She offers us the way to freedom.