Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano

The raindrops crashing against my windscreen grew larger and larger.

– Opening sentence

The tagline for this book is “fall in love with life again”.

After a stressful few months spent worrying about a number of different problems in my own life, this seemed to come at the perfect time.

Set in Paris, this book follows a woman named Camille who is having a really bad day when we are first introduced to her; broken down on the side of a country road in the middle of a storm with no phone signal.

After wandering down the road, she stumbles across a almost-hidden house, and explains her situation to the owners. Claude and his wife come to Camille’s aid and offer her a warm brew while she waits for the breakdown recovery service.

I know – this sounds like the beginning of a crime thriller where something awful happens. But Claude is genuine, and while comforting Camille (who breaks down in tears at her predicament) explains that he is a routinologist.

Fascinated, Camille asks what that means, and Claude replies that he helps people to overcome feelings of emptiness, unease and unhappiness. Predictably, Claude ends up becoming Camille’s mentor, and the rest of the book follows her transformational journey to happiness.

In many ways, this is an instruction manual/self-help book. Despite reading as a fictional story, it’s clear that the author (an expert in personal development) is recommending these techniques to the reader, to be applied in real life.

In all honesty, I’m not sure if I liked this approach. It sometimes came across a bit patronising – if I want to read a self-help book, I’d rather be spoken to directly and have the techniques explained more thoroughly.

But that’s just me.

As a natural pessimist, I also couldn’t help shaking away the feelings of “oh, come on!”. Camille seems to transform at lightning speed under Claude’s mentoring. The tasks she’s given and the challenges she’s presented with all go swimmingly, with Camille becoming a confident, sexy and successful entrepreneur practically overnight. Her strained relationships with her husband, son, mother and father magically become fixed, and she quits her job, secures funding and opens her own business (during an economical crisis) with little difficulty.

I know that’s supposed to be the point of the book – we all have the power to change the direction of our lives, we just need to adopt a new way of thinking – but COME ON, reality isn’t always smooth sailing.

The majority of successful business men and woman in real life have always claimed that they had to work hard, take risks, and persevere through countless knock-backs and failures.

Realistically, I know that no matter what your attitude to life is, and no matter how many exercises you do to try and control your own destiny, life will always throw an unexpected – and uncontrollable – curveball.

That being said, this book definitely opened my eyes to how negative I have been lately, and how much I’ve been stressing and worrying over the future, instead of enjoying moments in the present. There are definitely some techniques in it that I would like to try out myself, and I do believe in the power of the mind to alter the world around us.

I would recommend this book to those who feel like they need a bit of kick up the backside, or their eyes opened to some new possibilities and ways of thinking.

This book isn’t the best – the pacing is awful, it’s cheesy in some parts and damn frustrating in others. BUT, you’ll read it in a day and perhaps feel inspired to make some changes in your own life (and there’s an interesting twist at the end).

3 Stars (3 / 5)

A routine- What?

– Final sentence

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