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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review - "Resurrecting Venus" by Cynthia Occelli


I wanted to read this book because I had very much anticipated reading another book (which I had on hold at my local library since it came out…I was 27th in line) called “How to Be a Woman” by a British humorist Caitlin Moran. I looked forward to reading the different takes on advising women on how to best live their lives.
Cynthia Occelli’s book begins with a warning that what follows would not appeal to all women. After struggling to get through this book, I determined in the end I was not her intended audience. She writes: “This book may not appeal to innately masculine women; it may even incense them.”

I don’t consider myself “innately masculine” but I’ve never been a girly-girl either. I am a big fan of women’s memoir writing and self-help books, so after reading her warning, I decided to keep on. I found her life story interesting but the way she wrote irked me as it was all in a heavy handed almost overly dramatic tone, devoid of any lightness that may help a reader like myself want to plough through to the next chapter.
(It didn’t help that my husband was reading “How to Be a Woman” in another room and constantly laughing out loud. Grrr).
Her point was made fairly early in the book that embracing the feminine can be empowering. I agree with that, but found her recurrent theme of “I made lots of mistakes but I’m enlightened now and this is how you should strive to live your life” got a little tiring. I guess I never found anything new in her book that I haven’t already read elsewhere…or lived in my own life (yes, I made sure the father of my child could support us while I stayed home. Excellent advice I originally got from my own mother who married a man who struggled to support us and his gambling habit).
Cynthia rose from being a high-school drop-out and teen mom to becoming a successful real estate broker and law student. She never details how she was able to get into law school from those humble beginnings, and I wish she gave more backstory there. That would’ve made a unique read! Instead of writing platitudes like “Do what you love,” and “Choose Peace,” I would have like to have seen in more detail and in down-to-earth language how she got where she is today. I’m glad Cynthia is “following the light” in her heart and this book is proof of that.
I plan on gifting my copy of "Resurrecting Venus" to a young, pregnant, single-mom I know who is apparently vastly more feminine than I am. I know this book will give her gobs of guidance and I look forward to cracking open “How to Be a Woman” and giggling over Brazilians with Ms. Moran.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.


  1. Sounds like a good book
    -Tina, greenMomsToday.com

    1. It's a very good book for young women or moms. I didn't mention it in my review, but she has good advice on how to attract a perfect man...although it's a bit idealistic, it worked for her.

  2. Thanks for the review, Melle. I had to smile because the last thing I consider myself is enlightened (read the About the Author section for insight into how I see myself). The reason I didn't expound on my life's experiences is because I wanted this book to be reader centered, rather than a memoir. I have already written my memoir. My intention in Resurrecting Venus was to show women how they can have the love, family, and professional success they want. (I must disagree with the notion that doing what you love and choosing peace are platitudes, for me they are foundations to a fulfilling life.) The section Venus at Work, is based on work I’ve done with women entrepreneurs (many have sites like yours) who, consequently, have tripled their incomes. I wanted to share this information with women everywhere. I also wanted to comfort and encourage women who have been through loss and are starting over in love or at work. To that end, I've succeeded.

    I agree that the tone especially where I write about being a welfare mom or losing my marriage to my husband’s brain aneurysm is heavy, perhaps even dramatic. That’s an accurate depiction of what those times felt like to me. I doubt I’ll ever find humor in them. The best I can do is create joy from them. Can we meet in the middle? :)

    I do respect your views and appreciate you taking the time to read and review my writing.

    I wish you great success in 2013 and have enjoyed poking around your site.

    Cynthia Occelli

  3. Hi Cynthia,

    Thank you for your response! I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and sharing about your work and writing process. I would enjoy reading your memoir.

    All the best for a lovely new year to you and your family.