Joan Anderson became an inspiration to middle-aged women with her book A Year by the Sea. After the book became popular, Anderson started to host weekend retreats for women who needed to reconnect with themselves and find meaning in their lives. A Weekend to Change Your Life: Find Your Authentic Self After a Lifetime of Being All Things to All People sets out a plan for any woman, or group of women, to design their own renewal weekend.

Combining memoir with planning elements, Anderson has written an approachable book for anyone who might want to complete the retreat. I read the book as if I was going to complete my own self-directed retreat. The book is divided into sections to correspond to the weekend’s timing:

• Pre-Weekend
• Friday
• Friday Evening
• Saturday
• Sunday Morning
• Sunday Afternoon
• Post-Retreat

In less than 250 pages, including some spaces to make your own notes, this book is a complete guide. What is most appealing is the book’s gentle plan for making major changes in your life. Reading the book to prepare for these changes, and conducting the retreat, a person would see how they could manage the life change. Isn’t that exactly the point of any great guide?

(Note: I read the 2006 MJF Books edition of this book.)

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