Book Review: “Braving The Wilderness” by Brené Brown

Melissa here. Before I even start this review, I want to tell you something:


My latest read, Dr. Brené Brown’s “Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone,” is the reason you have to make time to read. Now, I can get to the review.

5 out of 5 stars

If I could give this book higher than five stars, I would. Honestly, I think everyone should read this book, because the world would be a better place. Let me walk you through a few of my favorite takeaways.

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To really “brave the wilderness,” Brown walks us through four elements, which are each chapters in her book:

People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.

In this chapter, Brown talks about the incredibly divisive world we live, and what we can do to stop dehumanizing one another. She also includes a powerful interview with Viola Davis who says:

“We are all worthy of telling our stories and having them heard. We all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe.”

Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.

This chapter explores the lesson of words being the ultimate weapon. She gives a few examples of this, but one stuck out to me most. It was about a son who verbally attacked his father for calling a neighbor he was helping “Oriental.” Instead of engaging his father in a civil conversation about how the term is outdated, both shut down. This stuck out to me, because I think the son was trying to speak truth to bullshit, but in excluding civility, ended up adding to the bullshit.

Hold Hands With Strangers.

This chapter was emotional for me. Brown talks about a few times in her life where she came together with strangers to mourn, celebrate, collaborate, and more. The one that stuck out to me was her recollection of the Challenger explosion. She was driving down FM 1960 in Houston, and a bunch of people were pulled off to the side of road. She joined them and learned the space shuttle had exploded. Together, they sat there for 10-15 minutes and just cried and grieved together. Then, they returned to their cars. Despite the tragedy, there’s beauty in coming together with complete strangers and being there for each other because it’s the right thing to do.

Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.

This chapter is harder to explain – you just have to read it! It talks about how achieving a wild heart isn’t a one-time effort. It’s something you have to work at every day. There will be days when there are haters, but be true to yourself, let attacks roll off you, and continue your quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone.

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I’m hoping to get Joey to read this one soon!  It’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I’ve been coming back to it everyday to remind me how to be true to myself.

You should totally BUY IT HERE.


Book Review: “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

Well, today you’re in for a special treat: A dual book review! As you may have learned from our book preferences post, you won’t get many dual book reviews, because we don’t typically read the same books. But today’s your lucky day, because we’ve both read “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

Joey’s Take: 4 out of 5 stars

This might be one of the only books that we have both read, because we have pretty different book interests. Melissa read this during our honeymoon, and it took me until the movie came out to get motivated to give it a try. Now before you start jumping to conclusions, I read the book BEFORE I saw the movie.

I thought the book was very good and would give it a 4 out of 5 stars, because I would describe it as a page-turner, full of excitement and adventure. It is one of those stories that at the end of every chapter I wanted to keep going to find out what happens next.  Normally, I have to put a book down after a chapter or two and get to the next chapter in a day or so, not this book.

**If you like the book, don’t get your hopes up on the movie.**

Melissa’s Take: 5 out of 5 stars

This book rocks! I’m a sucker for anything related to pop culture, and since this book immerses you into a world of 80s movies and video games, I couldn’t help but love it. Although I didn’t catch every reference because I’m a 90s baby, I still enjoyed this spin on a dystopian society where everything in life is centered around a virtual world. You can be whoever you want to be in Oasis, and it was fun to follow who the characters were in real life and this virtual world. What did bum me out was that one major corporation dictated the future of an entire population, which didn’t seem so far-fetched to me, especially because I read this as everything with net neutrality was going down. Either way, this book is action-packed, and even has some romance for the ladies! If you love science fiction and fantasy, or even just 80s pop culture, you won’t be able to put this down, which is why I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

**And Joey and I are in agreement about the movie. Completely different references. Completely different timeline. But it still has the same feel. It’s just definitely not as great as the book. Movie gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.**

Happy reading, friends!


What We Like To Read

From Melissa’s love of horror movies to Joey’s love of the great outdoors, it should be no surprise that we enjoy very different things – including genres of books. We wanted to explain our book preferences more in depth, so you could know what to expect in our upcoming book reviews.


What Melissa Likes To Read

I don’t even know where to start when it comes to books and my preferred genre. I love them all – from autobiographies to science fiction. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. I’m not sure where my passion for reading began, but I would have to guess with my parents. They used books as tools for education. I learned early on how books could teach me things, from what it means to be adopted to how to treat others with respect (thanks, Berenstain Bears). Then, I learned you could use them to get lost in another world. One of my early favorites was Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” But nowadays, you can find me reading less poetry and more autobiographies, murder mysteries, and science fiction.


What Joey Likes To Read

Most of the time you will find me reading motivational, business, and non-fiction books, which might come as a surprise to my family because growing up I was NOT a reader. I wanted nothing to do with reading and preferred to be outside playing in the Florida sunshine. (Sorry to my parents for the stubbornness). My passion for reading really didn’t start until after I graduated college, when I was recommended by a friend to read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. After reading that book it was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I had found the type of reading I really enjoyed. This is what you should expect from my book reviews. Now that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good adventure book every once in a while and might throw a few other curve balls into the mix.  I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I do, cheers!