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Review: Author finds joy life offers in 'On the Bright Side’

“On the Bright Side,” Zondervan, by Melanie Shankle

With the craziness of today’s society, it’s essential that we figure out a way to ground ourselves in what is truly important in life. Bestselling author Melanie Shankle uses wildly entertaining and completely relatable personal narratives to navigate the constant ups and downs of this world by looking “On the Bright Side.”

Shankle has a gift for storytelling. Her pop culture-infused essays portray a woman who is living in a digital age of comparison and competition. Is your metabolism supposed to mock you? Does anyone else watch British shows streaming on Netflix with subtitles? Why is the local oldies station playing songs from high school prom?

Shankle has the ability to easily transport the reader into the recesses of her memory as she recalls in great detail a narrative from decades before. And that narrative will inevitably be smothered in laughter.

Not only does Shankle discuss her views on aging gracefully, staying mostly sane while raising a teenage daughter, and making wise fashion choices (because social media is forever), she also shares a vulnerable side. Readers are encouraged to think before speaking, stand firm when fighting to be your true self, embrace the redemptive power of loving others and recognize the importance of being brave.

More than anything, “On the Bright Side” is about trusting your story from beginning to the end. Don’t forget to pay attention to the middle parts. Accept the person you were created to be. And have no shame in borrowing wise words from the movie “Mulan” to really drive a life lesson home to a 15-year-old.

Lincee Ray, The Associated Press