“The Choice” by Edith Eva Eger

If one day I had to recommend a self-help book 
I would have no doubt that it would be the work of Edith Eva Eger

To say that the book is about the story of a survivor of one of Hitler’s concentration camps, who saw her mother being sent to the gas chamber while still in triage and rebuilt her life in the United States is just explaining a very small fraction of what this work brings to the reader.

I confess that when my friend shared the book with me (digital version) I did not give much importance, not discrediting the work, but she just said: “I think you will like it” if she had started with: “It will change your life” maybe I hadn’t taken so long to read.

I also believe that I should stop saying that I don’t like self-help books, considering that my suggestions on this blog were of the same kind. I will say though that I still have reservations, before reading the book I had time to read the preface, this one written by one of the writer’s colleagues, who graduated in psychology. This one was full of praise and testimonials about how his life had changed after meeting her, how everyone should have the opportunity to hear her, and so on.

Prefaces like this make me question the quality of the book, to me, it sounds like an attempt to make the author bigger than the work as if I had to like the content of the book because the person who wrote it was wonderful. The book was almost forgotten for a few weeks on my phone after that first impression of the book.

I finished the classic I was reading (Emma – Jane Austin) not long after and with great difficulty. Needing something more interesting and far from the 18th century, I decided maybe it was time to give what felt like holy scripture a second chance (considering the prefacer’s enthusiasm).

The 700 pages that marked my e-reader (it is actually only 400) were disappearing so quickly that I found myself in one of those dilemmas that every reader likes to have: “I can’t wait to finish reading it at the same time that I know the emptiness which will remain after I finish it”. I would go to bed around 10:00 pm however, I couldn’t turn off the reader before 2:00 am. Each night I was flooded with new emotions, but mostly it revealed a new perspective to face my challenges.

The book is divided into four parts, she describes her past with great detail, cruel and happy moments, identifies some situations from different angles, has a very realistic view of what she (present) can understand, and seems honest about what she was not sure about before.

One aspect that I like most about her book is the fact that she doesn’t divide it into life lessons, with words in bold so you don’t get lost, and that needs to be repeated throughout the book, bordering on exhaustion. Sometimes I have the impression that the author is convincing themselves and not just the reader with so much parroting. 

My perception is that the book is a memoir filled with self-reflection. When portraying a personal situation, she has the capacity to identify what has bolted her due to a lack of knowledge or excess of emotions. When referring to a patient, in addition to describing the person in front of her, she also presented her expectations, her approach, and the lesson she took to herself.

Everyone is different, every situation can be seen in infinite ways and it’s up to you to understand how you reached that conclusion and, mainly, what you intend to do in the present, without blaming the past or expecting too much from the future.

I finished the book much faster than I would have liked when I met my friend again I couldn’t help but thank her for the suggestion. It was interesting to realize that we like different passages.

Even more interesting is that I finished reading the book at the end of October 2022, when I was halfway through the book I had already decided that I would write a review of the bestseller. I sat down countless times in front of the computer trying to find the best way to do justice to what the book nurtured in me. I wrote at least three different reviews and I didn’t like any of them. 

There is so much I want to share about the book, but at the same time, I want to respect each reader’s individual observation. There are so many ideas I’d like to explore, and so many abstractions, but then I’d be following the self-help book logic I dislike so much. This critique would eventually turn into threads with bolded titles of the lessons I learned from it. 

Therefore, “The choice” is for anyone who likes psychology, for anyone who is afraid of looking for a psychologist, for anyone who has sought to understand more about past moments and how to face the future in a more realistic way, without being so pessimistic. A book that lives up to its preface and that could be a mandatory book for anyone who wants to have a healthy life.

Published by Tassia Kespers

Escritora, professora, tradutora, revisora, mãe e exploradora nas horas vagas.

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