This month kicks off Frame’s new book club and we’re delighted to introduce our first author Marianne Power who wrote the incredibly funny yet thought-provoking book Help Me! One woman’s quest to find out if self-help really can change her life – fancy bagging a copy? Marianne will be joining us in Frame Hammersmith on the 29th November, 6.45pm with Frame Founder Pip Black for a book reading and Q&A book your spot here!
Can’t wait till then? Well, we caught up with Marianne to give us a little insight into the book and find out how much self-help really changed her life…
It would be great if we could start with you telling us a little bit about who you are, your background and what led you to make the decision to write the book.
I was working as a freelance journalist when I got the idea for this book. On paper things were good – I had a big job, fancy wardrobe and nice friends – but underneath it all I was lost. I was 35 but while friends bought their first homes, got married and started families, I was stuck in the same life I’d had since my twenties, drowning in a sea of deadlines, debt and hangovers.
Around this time, I was reading a lot of self-help books and with every book I read I’d dream of how perfect life would be if I just got up at 5am to meditate, or repeated affirmations or really did get out of my comfort zone. Then, one hungover Sunday, while re-reading my battered copy of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway at 3am, I had the idea that I thought would change my life. I would no longer read self-help, I would DO it. I would pick one self-help book a month for a year and follow its advice. I would systematically eradicate my every flaw – from money to men – and then, well, life would be perfect!
I honestly thought I could become a perfect person if I just tried hard enough. I thought that I could ‘fix myself’ – spoiler alert: it didn’t work out like that at all.
Of all the self-help books you read what was your favourite or the most useful (and the least) Any you would recommend?
Rejection Therapy, which involved getting rejected every day by other people was as painful as it sounds -but the rewards were huge. I also loved F**K It – which is all about learning to care less, as well as The Power of Now which is really difficult to read but when you read it at the right time something just clicks… I didn’t ever manage to talk to my angels during Angel Therapy month.
What self-help books did you decide on? What did they set out to achieve and how did they work (or didn’t)?
I started my mission with the classic Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, which argues that we should all be doing something that scares us every day. I did what I was told and spent January jumping out of planes, doing stand-up comedy, naked modelling – and, most petrifying of all, chatting up men on the Tube.
Then I spent a month crying over my bank statements with a finance book called Money; A Love Story, a book which argued that people who don’t look after their money are not free spirits, they are self-sabotaging. Oh.
Next was The Secret, one of the best-selling self-help books of all time; a book that tells you that you can have anything you want in life if you just believe. I did a vision board which involved cutting out pictures of best-selling books of which I would be the author. I found myself getting stressed about what colour bathroom tiles to have in my fantasy home in LA. I road-tested a Mercedes and tried to believe it was mine, before getting the bus home. I even wrote out pretend cheques in the hope that real ones would come flying through the door…
Finally, any advice for Framers who may be considering turning to self-help books – big question do they actually work??
Yes, I think there is so much wisdom and encouragement in these books. When I first read Feel the Fear I was 24 and in a job I hated, that book gave the push to quit in and get my start in journalism. Then another book I read called The Joy of Burnout helped me understand what was happening to me when the stress of journalism got too much and I was sick all the time. That book made me feel less alone and less like a failure. It was the beginning of me understanding that there was more to life than working, drinking and buying new jeans! These books can help us get to know ourselves. However – what they cannot do is ‘fix us’ because most of the time we don’t need fixing at all.
Want to find out more? Join us and Marianne on the 29th November in Frame Hammersmith, book your spot here!