Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk with the Queen of Talk by Robyn Okrant
I’ve declared—both here and in real life—my scorn for gimmick books, “stunt nonfiction,” and all things of that ilk.
But here, today, I declare that I have Changed My Mind.
Here’s the thing: If I like the author’s voice, then reading these books feels a little bit like hearing a friend describe the self-help kick they’re on. I’m interested to hear how it’s going, and I’m thankful I don’t have to do the work of it. Plus, it can be entertaining as hell.
Since I was still wary of the stunt nonfiction before reading this book, the only thing that enticed me to pick it up was that it was available as an eBook from the library. But once I started reading, Okrant’s voice—down-to-earth and funny—drew me into the narrative and I was delighted by this book.
Okrant’s self-assigned project was to follow every bit of advice offered by Oprah for an entire year. She was going to “Live Her Best Life” and blog about it.
Yes, this was a stunt.
But I’m here to tell you: Okrant’s writing is fun to read. For example, this made me smile:
After hearing Oprah advise that people should learn how to assert themselves, Okrant writes, “I run a search on Oprah’s site: ‘Where should I assert myself?’ I get twenty pages of results in return. Holy crap, that’s a lot of asserting.” (p. 145)
(There was another great sentence that made me laugh out loud [something about trying to live your best life, even as others around you don’t seem to care about living their best lives], which I had bookmarked on my Nook, but when the book expired, so did my bookmark. [Cripe! Lesson learned.])
The other great thing about this book is that Okrant describes the way much of Oprah’s advice contradicts itself. What’s a woman to do? (We’re supposed to save our pennies, Suze Orman style, while also investing in a new wardrobe and a Kindle?)
In no way did this book make me want to “live Oprah,” but it did send me in search of Peter Walsh’s book about decluttering. And it made me realize that I really, really like this type of book when it’s done right.