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Brighter By The Day Book Review

Life’s too short to read bad books. And the old adage about “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a lot of phooey. Because you can usually tell pretty quickly whether a book is going to be a slog. All of that is to say that I don’t often find myself reading something I consider to be a punishment. And I was shocked to discover Robin Robert’s Brighter By The Day was almost unreadable.

I picked up the book in the first place because I like Robin Roberts. She is a talented reporter and has risen to a point of general acclaim. She has overcome incredible hardship in her life, and has kept a positive attitude all the while. Which made it so much more disappointing to read her book, which was almost entirely devoid of personality or value.

The 140 page book was a collection of some of the most mundane and pointless platitudes of empty positivity. At a time when the internet is covered by vague, unhelpful inspiration, Roberts’ book lacked any of the depth that would make her cheery disposition actionable. If you had told me that this was less an autobiography and more a quote collection of worthless Hallmark cards, that wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.

What made the book particularly infuriating was that, with her life experience, you know that she has been through some real trauma. I was interested to hear how she overcame immense odds, how she made sense of unimaginable pain. But her refusal to acknowledge negativity did not come across as strong, but tone-deaf. For anyone experiencing hardship, hearing that “negativity has no place” is a tough pill to swallow, and lacks any of the emotional maturity I would have expected from someone as worldly as she. I didn’t get the impression that she lacked depth based on her writing; it felt more that she had depth and didn’t go to the trouble of conveying it in her writing.

This decade is bringing an entirely new way for people to relate to the struggles of being human. We are learning the importance of mental health, the impact of being open and honest about the full range of emotions that we encounter along the way. I was disappointed to see this esteemed professional opt for the vague, the distant and the pleasant, instead of getting to the real value of seeing the dark and moving toward the light despite circumstances. I have no doubt that Roberts has experienced hardships in her life; I just wish she had something of value to say for the rest of us if we are going through something ourselves.

There are so, so many books to read in the world. And I’m a little bit bummed I wasted the time on this one. Because at the end of the day, I was hoping for something that would change the way I see the world or heighten my interaction with it. And instead, I got the inspirational equivalent of talking about the weather.


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