Seriously! Are We There Yet?!
by Paolina Milana
Madness to Magic

"This isn’t my life, not what I dreamed."

In this vividly illustrated poetic narrative, three people have lost their way, and each wishes it wasn't so. Even the clock's ticking seems slow, and a road sign just says, "Don't know." Readers will readily identify with this mother, father, and daughter and their sense of angst at having gotten just so far in life but no farther. What happened to the plans they once had? They remember asking along the way—on vacations, at graduation, marriage, childbirth—"Are we there yet?" But as they sift through the past, something changes. Those memories remind them that they were once fearless, fun-loving, and that this was a good thing. Now they can choose to dance, sing, climb, travel, "write a haiku," or "start eating kale." Life doesn't have to stop here, and it doesn't have to be perfect. As long as they remember that they are the best ones to decide what's best for them, they can go on growing, embracing new ideas and a new inner road map.

The book's format is as daring as its subject matter: a lesson for growing and grown people, yet constructed like a children's tale. The pictorial symbolism includes a set of eyes peering out of a massive mountain of papers (bills and more bills) and a female character with a giant mallet smashing an annoying word. Having found her new direction, a younger character may wear a tutu and ballet shoes, hang from acrobat's hoops, or sport a racecar helmet as she zestfully contemplates "exactly who I'm meant to be." Thus, though constructed with poems, cartoons, and pep, this is a deep work whose creators offer it to thoughtful readers as an aid to gaining a sharper mental and emotional perspective.

Honorable Mention in the 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Self-Help Category

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