I’ve always appreciated the inspiration and guidance of self-help books, but there came a time I overdosed on them. It felt like I had eaten too much sugar and needed to balance out my reading “diet,” so I turned to murder mysteries.
In the last few mysteries I’ve read, the main female character is incredibly flawed and her life is quite a mess. She’s insecure, always doubting herself, and irritatingly indecisive. She’s stuck in the past, desperately wanting her life to be different than how it’s turned out, and has been playing the victim for so long she’s begun to lose herself and lose her way.
I don’t want to like her but I do. I know it’s because many of her flaws are too familiar to me.
As the mystery progresses, the stakes raise, the pressure builds, and the situation intensifies.
Finally, at a critical moment the heroine is forced to choose whether she will take action and make the hard decisions needed to “save the day.” To do that she will need to change how she sees herself and face truths she’s avoided. Inwardly I cheer her on as she steps up to the challenge and prevails.
It’s gratifying to find out “who done it.” It’s more gratifying to watch what the heroine has “done,” not only solve the mystery, but to reclaim herself.
We have each had to make those decisions, especially during divorce…the decisions to trust ourselves, make peace with the past and look to the future, and to be comfortable and compassionate with our history and our flaws.
Maybe I haven’t stopped reading self-help books at all. Maybe I’ve just found ones that are disguised as mysteries. After all, don’t we each have mysteries to solve?