Survival Lessons

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One of America’s most beloved writers shares her suggestions for finding beauty in the world even during the toughest times.

Survival Lessons provides a road map of how to reclaim your life from this day forward, with ways to reenvision everything—from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself. As Alice Hoffman says, “In many ways I wrote Survival Lessons to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other. I wrote to remind myself that despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.”

Wise, gentle, and wry, Alice Hoffman teaches all of us how to choose what matters most.



“It’s an absolutely beautiful book.”
Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees

“In this gem of a book, Alice Hoffman acknowledges the sorrows of life, while reminding us of its joys. SURVIVAL LESSONS is filled with love, insight, and lots of practical advice — including a crazy-good brownie recipe. I’ll be sharing this book widely, but keeping one copy permanently on my nightstand for all the times I’ll need its wisdom and warmth.”
Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“This weekend I had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy of my friend Alice Hoffman’s wonderful forthcoming book SURVIVAL LESSONS. As she says in a letter to her readers, the book “began as a letter I wrote to myself when I needed instructions on how to find joy during my treatment for breast cancer.” Indeed, the book is an ode to rediscovering joy in simple pleasures. Word by word, it delights, surprises, and inspires. Within this slim volume’s pages you will even come across a recipe for Maclin’s Brownies and instructions for knitting a beehive hat courtesy her cousin Lisa Hoffman. This is a book for survivors of all kinds, even those who simply need to remember the importance of a good cry, an old movie, a favored book. The pub date is October 1, but if I were you I would pre-order lots of copies. The book is a perfect gift for friends and family . . . heck, if I lived in a city with mass transit, I’d leave copies on the subway.”
Connie May Fowler, author of How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

“Her own longing for a guidebook when she was confronted by loss and cancer inspired Hoffman, the bestselling author of 21 imaginative and compassionate novels, to write her first nonfiction title. While under stress, she “needed to know how people survived trauma” and to be reminded of “the beauty of life.” Writing with sparkling directness, warmth, humor, and long-steeped wisdom, Hoffman has created a companionable and genuinely useful book for times of crisis. Small, intimate, and lovely, Survival Lessons is illustrated by Hoffman’s photographs and sweetened with recipes to support one of her key guidelines, savor life. Opening her harrowing experiences to readers, Hoffman also remembers her mentors, from Anne Frank to her grandmother (“the person I could always depend on, as funny as she was tough”) to the writing teacher who helped her become a published writer. Hoffman offers hilarious advice for coping with difficult people, recommends watching old movies and reading “the greats,” and sings out, “Don’t hold back!” “Live right now!” Hoffman’s storytelling artistry enlivens each intimate, thoughtfully distilled, charming, and nurturing lesson in living.”
Booklist, review by Donna Seaman