Book Review: “One Beautiful Dream” by Jennifer Fulwiler

Book Review: “One Beautiful Dream” by Jennifer Fulwiler May 4, 2018

Disclaimer: this review contains spoilers for the book “One Beautiful Dream” by Jennifer Fulwiler.

I have to admit that Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book, “One Beautiful Dream,” was not what I was expected. Based on the description, I thought it would be more of an explicit “how-to” book as opposed to a memoir like her first book “Something Other Than God.”

As a result, when I saw the title of Chapter 1 — “Possumgate” — I was a bit taken aback. I was slightly mystified as I continued reading the rollicking tale of the time Yaya captured a possum and wanted to bring it to visit.

My mystification slowly morphed into sympathy (and a little bit of horror) as I read about Fulwiler’s encounter with Green Bean Lady. Every mother of many has run into her at some point.

And getting out to the car and realizing you forgot the one thing you’d gone to the store to get? I have been there, and I also cried about it. (That is one reason I’m such a huge fan of Fry’s ClickList, which has literally changed my life.)

As I continued reading, I realized that “One Beautiful Dream” is more like a companion book or even a sequel to “Something Other than God.” The latter book is the story of Fulwiler’s faith journey from atheism to Catholicism; the former book is the story of her professional journey, from computer programmer to freelance writer, author, and radio show host while also a mom of many kids.

And boy, was this a book I needed to read right now.

As I announced several days ago, I’m writing a book, and progress has been slow. It’s been difficult to carve out time to write in the last few weeks. What’s been most frustrating is that there hasn’t been any progress when it comes to the cleanliness of my home, either — and cleaning is what I tell myself I need to be doing instead of writing.

Yet I seem to spend all day cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or decluttering — while caring for the two children, ages 1 and 4, who are not in school full-time — only to see little to no progress at the end of the day. I think part of that is me — I’m getting too distracted with both Facebook and Netflix, and that is something I need to rein in.

But I think part of it is that I’m not a good housekeeper. I despise cleaning and laundry, and I’m very slow at it. I can spend an entire day cleaning my kitchen and it’s still not clean by the end of the day (and then I mess it up again cooking supper).

If you can’t even keep your house clean, I keep saying to myself, what makes you think you can write a book?

I was comforted by Fulwiler’s retelling of her similar struggle. What really resonated with me was Chapter 26, “Resistance,” where she writes about her reaction to reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Her description of the book was what I originally thought “One Beautiful Dream” was going to be: “…a guerrilla warfare manual for anyone who’s ever tried to follow their dreams.”

Pressman, Fulwiler wrote, told of a “malevolent entity that hates creation and wants only destruction,” an entity that he dubbed “Resistance.”

Fulwiler wrote,

And, now that I thought about it, I had been pushed back by this force constantly in my struggles to create in every area of my life — both with my work and with my family.

You can’t follow the call to have more children — you’re already failing so miserably.

Why bother writing this book when so many other people are so much better at this than you are?

You need to give up if you can’t adhere to a perfect schedule.

Everyone will laugh at you if you put yourself out there. (p. 164-65, Kindle version)

When I read this portion, I actually turned my head to look back and see if the astral projection of Jennifer Fulwiler was hovering behind me à la Dr. Stephen Strange, because it seemed like my own thoughts were being magnified on that page.

Why bother writing this book when so many other people are so much better at this than you are?

I’ve heard that in my head about half a million times in the last several months.

But Fulwiler broke through the Resistance, and now she has two excellent books (and hopefully more) to her name.

If she can do it, then, maybe, so can I.

That is the hope that “One Beautiful Dream” has given me, and it came at just the right time.

If you’re in need of inspiration and encouragement while pursuing your dreams, or if you simply want to enjoy “the rollicking tale of family chaos, personal passions, and saying yes to them both,” I highly recommend this book.

Please note:

JoAnna Wahlund is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


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