Monday, February 28, 2011

Finding Peace Margaret's Way

When I found the small brown box on my doorstep, I instantly knew what was inside; “And I Shall have Some Peace There,” by Margaret Roach.

I have to admit, I’m a tough one when it comes to books. If a book doesn’t stir my interest within the first 50 pages, I am likely to set it down and not open it again. If a book doesn’t force me to slow down and read (instead of scan), it gets put on the shelf and used as a decorative element at a later date (stacks of books look lovely as a room accessory).

“And I Shall Have Some Peace There” not only was read page by page, it was savored from cover to cover.

I’ve followed along Margaret’s career for years. As a matter of fact, as garden editor for Martha Stewart Living, Margaret taught me much of what I know about gardening. Yes, it’s her fault that I have this passion for the garden and everything in it (except grubs… I have no passion for grubs.. They are pretty disgusting).

When Margaret left MSLO to take on her passion, I was bummed big time. When she emerged several months later with, I was elated. I was pleased to see that Margaret didn’t just fall out of sight – she reinvented herself (or unleashed?) and turned the garden blogging world on its head. I very quickly became a regular reader of the blog and the forums. I still take great pride in the fact that I asked a question in one of the forums that ended up being one of the most popular – “why do you garden?” A simple question with a zillion different responses.. but I digress.

“And I Shall Have Some Peace There” is Margaret’s story, told Margaret’s way, on how she experienced the internal struggle of wanting more out of her life while others told her she had it all; and making the bold move to kiss corporate America goodbye to create a world SHE wanted, with solitude, dirt under her fingernails, and a once stray cat named Jack.

The story that Margaret shares is a true gift to the reader. It’s an honest and revealing look into her life as she moves from the fast paced city life to a quieter existence, finding peace in a life of solitude. No, this isn’t a story about being alone; rather it’s a story of having the joy and happiness of solitude when, and as often as she wants/needs it. Margaret is hardly living a lonely life. She stays well ‘connected’ with her readers and followers through a web of technology and social media.

For those expecting some inside scoop or dirt on MSLO, you’ll be disappointed. In her true gracious style, Margaret does not dish dirt. Rather, you quickly feel the respect she has for Martha. Martha’s respect for Margaret is clearly shown with a blurb on the back cover. Class acts on both sides.

While some have said that Margaret’s writing style was hard to follow, I have a great appreciation for it. A thought process will be humming along in the book and suddenly, there is a sideline of thought found in parentheses. I appreciate it because I do the same thing (memos can be a real struggle for me.. no use of parentheses). The book is like a progressive conversation with Margaret,  moving here and there in thought, but always in some way connected. Yes, there were moments when I would re-read something, but like any conversation, you sometimes have to seek clarification. I don’t see that as a bad thing.

Experiencing my own struggle with staying in the corporate life, this book spoke to me, often feeling like I was reading my own thoughts. I too have fears. I too hate snakes. I too have found myself under the kitchen table – not from a fear of lightening, but from a much stressed out day.

“And I Shall Have Some Peace There” is a must read for anyone who has experienced a significant change in their life, or is thinking of making one. Sometimes the quest of another provides some answers to our own questions. I grade this book a solid A.


mike509 said...

What a great review - I will have to put this on my list! I enjoy her podcasts immensely - and am sure this book is quite telling. Oh -I am sure that you are at least cleaning something whilst underneath the kitchen table. :)

Perfecting Pru said...

I'm nearly at the end of the book and it is one of those books that I want to finish but at the same time don't want to end. I have loved it. Some of the words have been a little taxing for my tired brain but I have loved the thoughts that have gone along the pages. I feel that through reading Margaret's blog I understand more of where she is coming from . I have loved every minute of the book. Great review Kenn.

Elaine said...

I'm glad you liked it. I'm about half way through and really enjoying it.

Will in Texas said...

I'm intrigued. Saw her on Martha and remembered photos you took of your visit to her house.

The bold step she took to chuck the corporate world reminds me of Dr. Brent and Josh.

I have been at the same job for exactly half my life and I'm thinking it time to shake things up and experiment with a new vision.