2 out of 4 stars
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A dark tunnel could be a metaphor for difficult circumstances. However, there is nothing gloomy about the tunnels envisaged by Jan Attard in her self-help memoir Tunnel Vision: A Focused Life. The beauty of the leafy tunnel on the cover alone raised my spirits.
Attard's spirits were truly at a low when she devised what she calls "Tunnel Vision". Although her husband's violence was known to the police, he was awarded sole custody of the children when the couple divorced. In a devastating but not uncommon example of how the family court system fails to serve children's best interests, he presented himself well while discrediting a more emotional Attard. Cultivating "Tunnel Vision" was essential for her as she recovered from this blow, learned how to navigate the legal system, and found her way back to her children.
Her story is inspiring. I loved the message of this book. It encouraged me to visualize a tunnel whose walls keep negativity and discouragement outside. Crucially, the "Tunnel Vision" approach is all about forward motion, one baby step after another. I highlighted many passages and plan to saturate my awareness with them. As I read, I was buoyed up by words like these from Chapter Two of the book: "A commitment to focus on the good is summoned and reconfirmed on a daily basis. For it is within the 'tunnel' of our own making that we focus and choose to free ourselves from patterns of negativity, terror, and pain to create a place uninhibited to allow ourselves to dream and soar. From total despair, miracles happen if you believe them heart and soul."
The force of the motivational language in this book is one of its greatest strengths. Many passages read smoothly, but overall, another round of editing is needed. I deducted one star from the rating because I found many errors and inconsistencies throughout. Unfortunately, I had to deduct a second star because the book is generally lacking in substance and organization.
With its meandering timeline and several chapters whose content addresses their headings vaguely at best, this does not read like a coherent book. It seems more like a collection of blog posts. As inspirational as the messages are, the same ideas are repeated along with the same episodes in chapter after chapter. The author does look at "Tunnel Vision" from various angles and does provide a handful of practical tips. However, in its current form, this book is more about rhetoric than it is about actionable advice.
Rating this book two out of four stars as a result of the above, I can recommend it to self-help, non-fiction readers looking for a boost. I appreciated its emphasis on focus. I'm currently in a situation where I need to act, but I don't know where to start. If you can relate to this confusion, I recommend this book as a tool to help you concentrate and plan. If you are looking for guidance that you can get your teeth into, however, you might find this book frustrating.
Tunnel Vision, a focused life
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