Live Life In All CAPS; The Teresa Collins Story: Book Review

With Go Wild right around the corner, I have begun having every area of my life revolve around preparation for this event. Teresa Collins is going to be speaking this year and, I have to admit… I wasn’t to thrilled the last time I saw her speak. But, to be fair I was going through my own stuff at that moment and all my nerves were raw. Maybe she just hit my sore spot.

In order to approach our next encounter on the right foot, I thought I would do a little homework. So I hopped on Amazon and got myself her book.

Notebook and coffee not included

To quickly summarize the summary, Teresa Collins is a designer in the crafty world with her own line of products and partnerships with everyone from Fiskers to Silhouette. She’s overcome a lot of stuff in her life and is very much an optimist. So armed with my best attitude and giving updates as I went on Instagram (which you can watch here), I dove in.

Disclaimer:
So, let me be very clear in saying that I went in reading this book knowing full well that I am not the intended audience for this book. I’m just not, and that’s ok. I still think it’s important to read stuff we know isn’t written for us because it helps extend our minds and see other points of view. For the most part, I knew what aspects I was going to roll my eyes at and what wasn’t going to resonate with me. So when Teresa talked about her faith and her marriage, I knew that it wasn’t gonna speak to me, and that’s fine. There was enough other stuff that I felt I could have connected on. Just to make that clear.

Things are CAPITALIZED for EMPHASIS:
The book isn’t kidding when it says “all CAPS”. Through this entire book, words are capitalized for emphasis. The pro to this is that it helps translates Teresa’s voice to the written page. The con is that it’s kinda overdone. There are a lot of capitalized words. It made it hard to read because I kept thinking of this meme.

You know the voice that just read that in your head? That was the voice that wanted to read this book in my head. Granted, this is 100% a generational thing and I am nothing but internet trash memes at this point. But, the capitalized words did start to lose their emphasis by Chapter 2.

Authenticity:
In talking about this book online and with others, I have called this a “Mormon version of Girl Wash Your Face”. That’s not entirely true. Teresa Collins comes off as authentic and sincere throughout this book. It reads like she speaks; enthusiastic, passionate, and a little scattered because she’s excited about what she’s saying. Like it says on the cover, this is ‘The Teresa Collins Story’. Unlike Rachel Hollis, she doesn’t come off as preachy or judgy. She is that enthusiastic friend that is giving you peppy advice while you are just trying to drink your cup of coffee. I don’t agree with everything she says and would have made some different choices, but I respect her sincerity.

Call the Editor:
It was hard to tell what this book was supposed to be. It started off as a light autobiography, switched to some devotionals, threw in a few vignettes, and jumped back on to the autobiographical timeline while skipping a fair chunk of time. Chapters were very short, some could have been combined by topic, and some jumped around from business to family life to dropping huge bombshells and not picking up until several chapters later. It was very stream of consciousness, if that stream had a few detours to smell some flowers along the way.

Creativity & Ideas:
When Teresa is talking about her business and design, I’m there for it. She mentions making an A to Z book after her mother passed away, and now I want to make one. She mentions seeing some beautiful art while on vacation and feeling inspired to design, and I’m right there with her. If she did an entire book on design, I would eat that shit up.

My favorite quote from the book. Super relatable.

Surface Level Trauma:
Teresa has had a LOT of stuff happen to her in her life; big, deep, heavy stuff. She brings it up to provide examples of how she overcame hardships and chose to be happy. I don’t want to diminish that at all; she’s a BAMF, who probably wouldn’t appreciate the full version of that initialism due to language. Where I get frustrated is when she mentions something, like her stroke, but doesn’t actually talk about the process of choosing to be happy again. I’ve gone through big medical stuff too, and I can tell you first hand that it’s not as easy to just “be normal” again. You have to create a new normal. I wanted to hear about how she went on to create her new normal. Every big thing that happens in this book is told like she isn’t ready to talk about it yet, which is completely understandable. But if that’s the case, why include it in the book?

Was this the best book I ever read? No. It was clunky and hard to read. The advice was shallow and more of a “pep talk” than any actual motivation or overcoming adverse conditions. There were moments that I loved, like when she discussed her feelings around her father’s death – that hit home because I had and still have many of the same feelings in regards to my own father’s death. Her excitement about office supplies was super relatable. Reading her go through the emotions of losing her beloved husband was touching. But, overall it wasn’t really my cup of tea. If you love books like the aforementioned Girl Wash Your Face, or you are part of the Mormon Church, this might be a great book for you to find some soul stirring inspiration.

I am interested in seeing Teresa’s presentation at Wild, especially having read this and having a little more insight to her life and her personality. And I will be bringing this book to hide as a present in the hotel; I hope the next person enjoys the read (and maybe gets it signed during the event!)

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