Book Review–Dancing At The Shame Prom–A Midlife Must Read

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Book Reviews, Women Playing Big | 3 comments

Shame doesn’t get much respect out in the open. That’s the problem with shame, it’s meant to be hidden, we are meant to hide parts of us because of the things we attach shame to. The subtitle of this wonderful collection of shame exposing stories is, “Sharing the stories that kept us small.” The writers were given a gift of emancipation and expansion by the act of writing. By exposing what for years wanted most to be hidden they were unburdened.

How would that feel, being unburdened of some judgmental, self-destructive, story you have created around a decision made long ago? At first consideration it might feel too scary to contemplate this idea of saying it to someone. What if that person was freed by your telling to tell something of her own? And what could possibly be so awful? Murder? Theft? A sexually transmitted disease, abortion, a food disorder? For me the idea that I was somehow stupid enough to invest money with someone who was clearly running a pyramid scheme plagued me for years. Losing the money was one thing. Feeling stupid was almost worse. In hindsight I know it wasn’t stupidity. I did my due diligence, I knew other people in the same investment who I knew to be reasonable and savvy about money. We all went down together yet I was the stupid one.

What’s your hidden story? What do you have shame attached to the is keeping  you small? If you can’t imagine baring your soul I encourage you to pick up this book, edited by two of my favorite women, Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter. You’ll read stories about men, mothers, sisters, friends, drugs, and divorces. Some are hilarious all are thoughtful invitations into the writer’s private life. All are healing.

Here is a short excerpt from the introduction. “Aretha sang about it. Ted Swaggart prayed to almighty God about it. Elizabeth Edwards  wrote and spoke about it. Anjelina Joie had it tattooed to remind her of it. Newt Gingrich begged forgiveness because of it. Tiger Woods lied because of it. Oprah Winfrey did seventeen shows about it. Bill Clinton addressed the nation three times in the name of it. Laura Nyro wrote lyrics about it. Ruth Madoff lives in hiding because she is filled with it.”

This is a beautiful collection, end of story. You can find it here


  1. thankful that you live life as you do, with a vengeance and passion for the things that truly matter. this book is one of those matters that matter and is significantly changing lives.

    • Kristine, part of how I live as I do is motivated by the deep commitment women like you, Amy, Holly and Molly have to women and the world in general. So thankful we’ve all been connected.

  2. Shame is such a strong emotion and word to be talked about. Every person has his or her fair share of shame and guilt. What’s the difference between shame and guilt by the way?

    -Brian McDougall

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