April 04, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne and Marci Shimoff

I'm a woman, so this book applies to me right? Or at least that's what I thought. However, I think the authors of this book have a very narrow sight on what it means to be a woman. But more on that later. This book is one of the very many versions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books out there. These books are known for their uplifting short stories that are meant to inspire, make you feel good, or just make you cry.

Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul takes stories about women and fills a number of places with them. The chapters range from being about Overcoming Obstacles, Motherhood, Marriage, Attitude, and Love. There are stories about mother's doing whatever they can for their children, to becoming a mom for the first time, to finding the love of your life and marrying him. Far and few between however, are stories about women who stay single and don't have children. There are a few, but barely any. The majority of the stories focus on motherhood and marriage. One of those few that was not however, was about a woman pilot, and that actually was an inspiring story. But then there was one of the first stories in the book, about a man who was inspired by his wife to take his mom out to dinner and other activities, but kept calling it dating his mother, which was kind of creepy (the story may have been innocent but continual references to dating your mother just doesn't sit right).

Since these are short stories we don't really get a sense of all the people. After all, you're seeing them through biased eyes without a lot of description. Everyone seems to be glowing. And mothers and married women are especially revered (are you sensing a theme here). But there are a lot of good people mentioned in these books. People who do good for other people. And there's even a few that are inspiring.

So obviously my main complaints with this book are its representation of women. I'm not saying that it's wrong to have a section on marriage or on motherhood, but I think equal status (and a devoted chapter) should be given to the single career-oriented and the non-mothers. They do a lot of good in the world too. And there's already plenty of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul books. It's almost like they're saying women who don't follow those choices in life aren't quite women. And that's heartbreaking. This is a Christian based publication, but this one didn't have too many stories that were preachy, which was nice. It was approachable in that way at least.

Not my favorite of the Chicken Soup books. Maybe I'm a little biased, but I just wish this book had been for ALL women.

Chicken Soup for the Women's Soul
Copyright 1996
328 pages

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