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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips

Remember my comment about not liking to read self-help/improvement books because they depress me? Shockingly, I have just finished another one. I was tricked into it, I tell you! I got this seemingly innocent email asking if I want to review a book called Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips. Taking one look at the title, I laughed out loud and didn’t read any further to find out what type of book it was. Hey, give me a break the title totally described my life that day.


When it arrived, I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at the cover— Caught in the Headlights: 10 Lessons Learned the Hard Way. “Huh” says I, “It’s another one of those.” I consoled myself with the fact that at least it was short (105 pages) and flipped it open. I was immediately hooked. Not only was it short, it had cartoons! Okay, okay, it’s the little things in life, ya know? Before I knew it I’d read another “how to make your life better” books and had a blast doing it. Sneaky author.


Where Enjoying the Journey felt like a comfortable home, Caught in the Headlights felt like a fun vacation to a water park. You know the kind—where you climb all those steps, take a thrilling slide, have the time of your life, feel refreshed, then say, “That was fun… let me rest for an hour and I’ll be ready to do it again.”


That’s not a bad thing. Though Caught in the Headlights is small, it packs a powerful punch. Every chapter promises a few smiles and a few thought provoking messages that can carry you a long way if you take time to let them sink in. Mr. Phillips creates an interesting blend of humor and insight to show that we are sometimes guilty of viewing the things that we want from an upside-down and blurred perspective. This muddled vision of what we want creates an unachievable quandary for us. Mr. Phillips points out that if we go back to the root of why we want the things we think we need, we’ll find that our goals can be better accomplished through something different. I think the back cover says it best. “Have you ever gotten what you wished for, only to discover that it’s not really what you wanted after all?”


So, here are the water slides Barry K. Phillips offers you in Caught in the Headlights.

Happiness

Self-Esteem

Pride

Freedom

Control

Tolerance

Forgiveness

Success

The Big Event (dreams/goals), and

The Perfect Body


If you’ve found yourself chasing after any of these, wondering why it keep eluding you, then maybe Caught in the Headlights can offer some insight. Mr. Phillips shows you a vision of worthy goals, without the blinding headlights of the world surrounding them. I must say, I thought the view very refreshing.


The only part of the book I can’t vouch for is the poetry. Even though poetry is what introduced me to a love of writing (it was a teenage emoting thing), I now skip over every poem I come across in books. It’s not just Mr. Phillips; I’ve never read the prose in The Lord of the Rings trilogy or any other “must read” that I’ve probably read more than once. I just gloss right over it and can’t force myself to concentrate on it. Each chapter in Caught in the Headlights is formatted with a Pursuit (what we think we want and what it really is), a Lesson (how to go after what we are really looking for) and a poem, which I assume is meant to sum it all up. I got plenty out of the Pursuit and Lesson. Sorry Mr. Phillips. I’m sure you worked hard to create another learning method for your readers through the poems; they’re just not something I read.


Poetry aside, I would definitely recommend Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips. It’s straight forward and offers a perspective you may not have thought of. Caught in the Headlights would make a great bathroom reader, car, briefcase, or purse book. The chapters are just long enough for a few stolen minutes, when you finish one you can put it aside and let the message settle into your heart for a while. You don’t have to read it straight through, though I would recommend reading the chapters in order.


Barry Phillips will be on Virtual Blog Tour, promoting Caught in the Headlights, for the next few weeks. You can track his progress from here or read his personal blog from here.


Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips

Publisher: Cedar Fort (June 2008)

ISBN-10: 1599551675

ISBN-13: 978-1599551678

Caught in the Headlights can also be purchased from here.




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2 comments:

Anna Maria Junus said...

I read the book too and enjoyed it.

Kim Thompson said...

Great review--and fun, unique approach. I'm reading the book now. Barry has a lot of helpful insights.