Peace From Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant
I recently had an opportunity to see Iyanla Vanzant’s latest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. By now, everyone knows her updated story: self help guru who earned and lost millions, as well as her marriage, her home and her daughter, Gemmia. I had read many of Iyanla’s books so I was intrigued, then disappointed by what I witnessed in the interview. Iyanla’s entire platform had been one of “tell it like it is, come clean and call it what it really is”, raw honesty and integrity. What I witnessed in the interview was not quite that Iyanla. She didn’t seem to be “owning” her “stuff” as she had so boldly led so many people to do at the height of her popularity. I decided to read her latest book for more insight on the woman I witnessed.
According to the overview in the book, “Iyanla shares why everything we need to learn is reflected in our relationships and the strength and wisdom she has gained by supporting others to make sense out of the puzzle pieces of their lives”. The title implies that she will share how to understand the things that are broken in our lives, and how to gain clarity and peace amidst the broken pieces.
Iyanla Vanzant is an awesome writer. She has the ability to pull you in and share her emotions in such a way that you can identify and relate with what she is feeling in the moment. This book was no exception. But it was a very painful experience. For 3/4 of the book, the reader is taken on a ride through Iyanla’s very painful life. She suffered rape, abuse, neglect, which all resulted in a lack of self love, which she explains is at the root things falling apart in her life. What was missing, was true evidence that she has come to a place of peace or instructions for people suffering from the same issues on how to achieve peace. She did not always own her outcomes and in many places appeared to blame others for her pain. At the end, she ties everything together stating she is “at peace” and knowing that her daughter is very “proud of the ways I have made our broken pieces whole”.
Ideal People (Audience)
This book is not a self help book. While Iyanla takes us through the journey of her own revelations and her pronouncement of peace, I would not recommend this book for anyone who is looking to heal, learn or grow. It was a difficult read filled with very painful stories. I would suggest it more as an autobiographical read, and an opportunity to be introspective. As a mother and as a woman, I saw many themes that play out in our lives. Iyanla provides many stories to show exactly how unresolved issues can blow up later. In that way, the book is a wonderful wake up call.