Monday, September 19, 2016

The Art of Imperfection by Véronique Vienne

The Art of Imperfection:  Simple Ways to Make Peace with Yourself by Véronique Vienne is a very short book that encourages the reader to embrace the imperfections of life.  Meant to be inspiring, I found it rather banal.  At times, I couldn’t even agree with the advice.  When the author advises the reader to not pay off credit card debt if there’s ever a jackpot win at Las Vegas.  

I get it.  The idea is to encourage the reader to not always be responsible.  Okay fine. Don’t pay off all of your debt when/if you get a fiscal windfall because there should be room for a little self-indulgence and fun, especially when you've lived most of your life always being careful.  But she occasionally suggests other ideas that are more silly than inspired.  And yes, I agree with the author that there is room for silliness in our lives, which explains why there’s a whole chapter to silliness I suppose.  It's that her idea of what to celebrate and how to live life fully while embracing the imperfections that surround us is just . . . well, mostly silly.

Throughout the book, the author alludes to research but there are no sources cited so it’s hard to even take her advice that’s rooted in scientific evidence seriously.  It all just read like so much fluff, although I did find some quotes that could lead to more interesting ideas.  It’s easy to write about deep ideas, water them down, and then end up with a few sound bites. (After all, isn’t this the foundation of politics and the news media? But I digress.)

I wanted to like this book more; it just never felt like it elevated its ideas beyond superficial fluff.  The photographs by Erica Lennard throughout the book are lovely.  In fact, I think I would have found more inspiration from simply seeing a collection of the photographer’s work without the text.  But I suspect some people find this book inspiring even without the photos.  I obviously did not.

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