Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lost and Found: BlogHer Book Club Review

One of the great things about book clubs is the opportunity to read books you normally wouldn't. Most of the time, this is a blessing. In the case of "Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life" by Geneen Roth, it was not so much a blessing.

Roth, who frequently finds her way on to the bestseller list, was one of many who lost everything in the Bernie Madoff scandal. I was curious to learn just who were these people who had enough money to be unwitting participants in a billion dollar Ponzi scheme, and yet were totally clueless about how to manage it. Roth attempts to explain it by describing the deep psychological issues with money that led to her financial demise. To be frank, the process she guides us through isn't an interesting one. 

At one point early in the book, Roth wonders if "spirituality was a fancy description for self-indulgent navel gazing." Given that shortly thereafter she spends 17 pages in a petulant state about a $1,000 pair of glasses she wants to buy to fill the void, I'd say in this case yes it is. Later on, when she tells the reader what chapter they need to read in another one of her books for more information, I feel a bit ripped off. Why should I have to go read another book for you to elaborate? You just wasted nearly 10% of this one whining about a pair glasses you wanted but couldn't have.

There was silly, grand sweeping statements like "soon we'll be running out of planetary resources, so there will be nothing left to hoard or kill" that I could live with, but when she talked about the risk of being eaten by dinosaurs being slim with respect to human evolution, she lost any shred of credibility she may have had. After all, dinosaurs and even the earliest of hominids were separated by over SIXTY MILLION YEARS, so I'd say the odds were always pretty slim.

This was the first Geneen Roth book I have read. I found "Lost and Found" trite, condescending and boring in equal measures. Would I recommend it to a friend? Um, no. Would I read another one of Roth's books after reading this one? That would also be a no. For more discussion on Lost and Found, follow the discussion at the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a compensated review as part of the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions expressed are my own.


Unknown said...

One would hope that after loosing everything you would have a more indepth realist view on things. Not whining about glasses. I will know not to buy this now.

Small Town Mommy said...

Wow, you really didn't like it. Thanks for being so honest. I now have less than no desire to read this (although from the description, it didn't sound like my type of book anyway).