Review-on-the-Go: Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning is a tale of a magazine editor who breaks down in the recent economic crisis and slowly builds herself up again. Don’t be deceived by the hard cover and pretty text: this is a better beach read than anything else.
One day, Dominique Browning is a big-time editor of the Condé Nast magazine, House & Garden. The next, she’s struggling to keep her head above water after the magazine folds, battling a mid-life crisis and an unfortunate and mixed-up love affair to boot.
She escapes to a peaceful, old house a la Under the Tuscan Sun, living the solitary life in coastal Rhode Island, where she is able to bask in the nature that she missed in Manhattan. This is ultimately where she finds the happiness she seeks, living life quietly, learning to cook and reconnecting with her adult children.
The story she tells is slightly cliché, but perhaps only in that it has been repeated so often by so many in the recent economic downturn, and is therefore something that readers can often relate to. I will not deny that there were moments when I didn’t want to put the book down; there were also moments when all I wanted to do was put the book down.
The book itself doesn’t fare well with judgment. Its style very much reflects a stereotypical magazine editor (and a design/garden editor at that), often with long, rambling descriptions of imagery or inner thoughts. Many of the chapters could probably do better published on their own, as often it seems that so much effort has been put into spinning the tales together that too many words are added between the corners of the actual plot line.
That being said, the words in question are Browning’s very intimate thoughts. It is very self-directed, though not self-indulgent. Slow Love is more like reading a stranger’s diary (a stranger who writes very well). There is much that could be cut out. But if it were cut out, it’s also possible that we would lose the deep sense of our writer that we receive while reading through the long analyses and descriptions.
Despite the cover’s textured, hard cover and delicate, colorful text (reminiscent of the Eat, Love, Pray cover text, in some ways), this book is definitely one to be read with a casual, no-expectations mindset. It’s not difficult, challenging or even particularly exciting, and despite the title, it is quite a quick read.
But if only for the sake to remind us that slowing down and living life is important, it is worth being taken along on a beach day to soak in with some sun.