4 out of 4 stars
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Dive In, by Melanie Britz, is a kind and compassionate book about unlocking the best and truest self in all of us. Written as a letter to her 20-year-old self, each chapter explores a different tool for spiritual health and healing, often in the context of the author’s experiences. Dive In is honestly and thoughtfully written, introducing the reader to a broad range of spiritual practices and psychological techniques. Dealing with topics ranging from mental health to body image to overcoming tragedy, Dive In is an accessible introduction to a variety of coping mechanisms that any reader will be able to find value in. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
Many self-help books, especially ones dealing with spiritual health, can be esoteric and intimidating to someone unfamiliar with the practices described. Dive In is the opposite. By writing to her 20-year-old self, Britz takes fairly complex ideas and breaks them down into simple components, often explained with the help of everyday analogies or small illustrations. Helpful footnotes link back to the original material, allowing a particularly invested reader to learn more. The writing is conversational and gives the reader a sense of immediate friendliness and familiarity.
Each chapter covers a different concept, and while the concepts build on each other, a single chapter can be revisited easily and often. Likewise, if a few chapters do not ring spiritually true for a reader, they can be skipped without compromising the entire book. Britz even encourages this, saying that her metric for the validity of a spiritual practice is what feels authentic to her. Therefore, even readers who come from an existing faith tradition can still adapt the practices in this book.
The interactive nature of this book is increased by the link found at the end; Britz has developed a website encouraging readers to use Dive In as an inspiration to write their own letters to their younger selves and share them with the world. All self-help and spiritual growth is inherently a participatory process, and this book is at its strongest when it is being integrated into one’s daily life. Even the writing style encourages such interaction; at some points the reader, through the form of Britz’s 20-year-old self, is encouraged to try certain activities or simply go outside. Dive In’s conversational tone allows reading it to feel less like a chore and more like a conversation. There are a few typos to be found, but they do not hinder clarity.
Overall, Dive In is an enjoyable and useful book. It serves as a primer for spiritual growth without seeming intimidating or overwhelming. Personally, I may find myself printing out some of the illustrations and using them to inspire myself and remind myself of what I learned. Ultimately, I think that is Dive In’s greatest strength; it invites the reader to use it in whatever way feels most authentic to them. I strongly recommend this book, and I look forward to applying its techniques in my life.
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