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Book Review Part 1: Valerie Bertinelli Enough Already

Kindle Screenshot of Cover

Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I am Today
Valerie Bertinelli
Publisher: Harvest (Harper Collins)
250 pages
Hardcover $27
e-book $14.39 to $14.99

When someone lives a life that is public in someway there is a tendency to presume that they are fully known and therefore open to scrutiny and criticism. This leads to being held to both a different and/or higher standard and leaves little room for grace when the person missteps, and when we don’t know the whole story of the person.

In Enough Already Valerie Bertinelli shares some of the challenging places in her life in a relatable way, inviting us into places of her life that are familiar, and painful. Familiar in the “eating our feelings” kind of way, and painful in the “oh yeah I get that” kind of way. She shares stories interspersed with recipes, experiences and life moments and feelings long buried in need of attention, acknowledgement, forgiveness and compassion. Valerie expresses desires so many of us hold onto, for joy and laughter, and to enjoy the beauty of relationships enlivened by the sublime beauty of sharing and enjoying food, a meal together, without the internal and external criticism both self-induced and culturally induced.

If I could tell quilters to read this book not for the “self-help” but for the relational story of how so many of us struggle, and here is one woman, sharing her struggle in a way that draws us in, enters into the same kinds of thought processes we share of shaming and passively or intentionally eating our feelings. Being overly critical of our work in a way that stunts us rather than helps us grow. Last week in Nebraska one quilter asked me how to do what I do, I extended the invitation for her, and the other quilter at the table, to lean in. Closer I said. As they leaned in I whispered loudly, “practice.” This is not often the answer quilters are seeking. And I get it. We all desire the ten best steps that will make us an award winning quilter right. now. However, when practice is the answer what becomes the question? “How do I practice in a way that will allow me to achieve my goals?” This, this is not only something I can answer, it is something I can *show* you.

Valerie hints at this same kind of practice, with something of a kindred worldview, how do we get better at loving ourselves and others? By practicing being loving (even when we don’t feel like it), by practicing looking for friendship and being a friend; by practicing kindness even when the person on the other end doesn’t seem to “deserve” that extension of the aforementioned kindness. Practice doesn’t make us perfect, it makes us better particularly when we practice the intention of getting better, including practicing badly until that practice allows us to find the answer.

Did you notice the part about loving ourselves? In the practice of daily living, a living that includes our quilt making, practice is key to getting better and modeling the things we want to get better at. Practice, it’s hard, it’s necessary, and it’s such a good teacher. I’m still reading through Enough Already and will revisit this book review when I get further along or to the end. As I have a whole morning to read tomorrow this might be later this week. Once I get my quilts sorted for the upcoming lecture the time to read and journal, and continue sorting through my own stuff, practicing what it means to be a woman and a quilter and a teacher and a daughter and a wife and continuing to learn and make mistakes.

Happy Quilting,


1 thought on “Book Review Part 1: Valerie Bertinelli Enough Already”

  1. I know I wasn’t destined to enter quilt shows, but I do try my best on every quilt and I am happ with that. I have quilted approximately 100 quilts on my sitdown long arm. If I look closely, I can see the progress I have made but no one complains when I give them a quilt, so I am good with that. I have only unpicked about half of the quilting on one quilt because I hadn’t notice the thread tension was bad on the bottom. I normally check that often as I am quilting. This was the one time I didn’t. I do find that the more I quilt, the better I get, so let’s quilt on!

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