WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE: A Complicated Memoir

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The author tells her story of her decision to enter a rehabilitation clinic, the same one her addict husband attended, after participating in his family week. While visiting, the staff strongly encouraged Maranda to enroll herself in their five-week intensive aimed at uncovering and working on her own issues, although she herself had never battled addiction or substance abuse. Maranda didn’t so much as drink, smoke, or consume coffee.

While at the center, Maranda slowly gained insight into her co-dependencies and knee-jerk responses as she obtained the necessary tools to more effectively manage her own life. What It Looks Like (September 2015) at this point read much like a daily journal.

After leaving the five-week intensive, Maranda continued to do the hard work of reaching her authentic self or self-actualization according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a paradigm she explains in Psychology 101 textbook fashion. This is where her story veered off on tangents that seemingly lost focus. Next, she gave multiple lessons in history and political awareness with laser-sharp detail. As interesting as her historical retellings were and as well described as they were, they caused me to question her decision to publish. She did loop back to the main point and tied into what true authenticity looks like according to what she learned at the center; however, she took an often frustrating and meandering path. It seemed apparent that Maranda had much to work out in her own mind. I again questioned whether this book really belonged in the realm of unpublished personal journal.

Early on, I found myself wondering who Maranda was exactly. I was curious as to who would have the time and financial means to undertake this type of journey and then write about it so extensively. Also strange is the husband whom she said very little about but whose presence as a recognizable figure looms prominently. Oftentimes throughout the book, what Maranda didn’t say spoke louder than what she did. It turned out that Maranda is wife number three of four for Rush Limbaugh. From what I learned, the details of the split cannot be discussed. She has done extremely well in real estate which explains how she could afford the clinic’s hefty price tag. Maranda mentioned that after completing her stint in rehab she was asked for a divorce. She left behind the house that she spent quite a great deal of time building and establishing. Admittedly, learning these details about her personal life were telling for me. Her story made more sense but there was the ring of inauthenticity in her not being more forthcoming.

Part memoir and part admonishment for those not living authentically through their daily examples, I do believe Maranda worked hard to not come off as preachy. Judging from the lack of reviews across a number of outlets, I wondered if her story came off as too complex and overwhelming and could have been written better to include a wider audience. In spite of this, Maranda offered up plenty of valuable insights and much to takeaway. Her story, however, fell short of true inspiration.

Reviewed by Maria Ryan

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two-half-stars

About Libby

Libby started with Author Exposure as the book review editor and has evolved into the AE site editor. She was the creator and interviewer for the What's Next feature and still manages to squeeze in reviews of her own.

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