This is a review of The New 10 – 40 days to creating a boldly beautiful life from the inside out by Dawn McIntyre. The publicists were kind enough to send me a free copy to see if I wanted to review it. As you can see I thought it was worth reviewing.
This is a book about beauty directed to women which raises the question of . . .
Me Being of the Male Persuasion . . .
. . . what does it have to do with me? Well, being a straight male I would like more beautiful women in the world. More seriously – it is the agenda of working from the inside out that chimes in with my emphasis on authenticity.
The Main Idea . . .
. . . of the book is that women need to move from the idea of the old 10 (taken from the Bo Derek and Dudley Moore movie of that name – where it is exterior beauty that is judged on a scale of 1 to 10 – Bo Derek scoring 10) to the new 10 (being beautiful from the inside out). This I entirely agree with – a person who accepts all of who they are has a presence. For a woman to radiate beauty the path is acceptance in my experience.
The book is divided in 4 parts.
The four parts are: My thoughts are ugly, my thoughts are beautiful; I hate my body, I love my body; I ignore my spirit, I embrace my spirit; my life is ordinary, my life is extraordinary.
Each part has 10 sections (of 3-4 pages each).One section per day makes up the 40 days. Each of the sections ends with a practical part called What Really Works for Me. These practical parts are all down to earth and do-able exercises. You aren’t left up in the air and wondering, “But what can I do about this?”
I don’t think the one day per section is meant to be taken too seriously. For instance Day 1 is about facing your fears. This will likely take more than a day to deal with I would think. The practical parts at the end of the sections all give an exercise that can be done that day – but the theme of the days are often big ones. Dawn deals with things like: knowing you can survive if rejected, giving your body what it needs, trusting the universe, living in the now, and much else. Each one of the 40 topics has entire books devoted to it. The best way to approach this might be to go through the book, doing one section a day, and then go back to work on the sections that you want to go into greater depth with.
Dawn writes in the often recommended conversational style – “write as you speak”. This advice is given to avoid stuffy formality. The result: concision and brevity are not valued. Instead, there is a relaxed and usually quite accessible tone that makes for easy reading. This is an accessible book. Occasionally I think Dawn takes too long to say things. However what she is saying is always clear and the way she says it is always readable.
This is not an academic book. It is one woman speaking about her own and others’ experience. The tone of the writing suits the purpose very well.
This isn’t a book you will read for the writing style – but then it doesn’t want to be that kind of book. It is a book designed to be accessible and useful, and it is.
Who is it for?
This is a book that has come out of Dawn’s experience and so is probably best suited to those with similar experiences. Unfortunately, I think there are many women with similar experiences to Dawn’s. Here are some excerpts from the Introduction where she talks about her upbringing.
As a child and teen, I was considered plump. I was not popular in school; I was a good student, but not one of the pretty ones. . . . I also had it beaten into me as a child and teen that I was ugly and fat – even stupid, although my grades proved otherwise. . . . As a young adult I attracted men who reflected back to me my complete lack of self-esteem and my inability to love myself. (p.ix)
From what I can gather there are a great number of women who can relate to this kind of treatment.
Dawn wants to build a movement around the New 10 – and she also has a radio show and website so that there are ways to connect with her and others. You are not left on your own when you close the book. This is of course essential for someone who wishes to build a movement. I think it should also have benefits to the readers – having a sense of support or being part of a group can be helpful when making the kinds of changes suggested in this book.
If you are a conservative Christian or committed to a materialist philosophy you will probably find Dawn to be way too new age for you. Some of the things that Dawn recommends have to do with meditation and affirmations and so on. She doesn’t try to evangelise for these things but she does make it clear that she thinks they are right.
This could be a very worthwhile book to work through if you had the same kind of experiences as Dawn did when she was young. If you have difficulty knowing you are beautiful; if you have hassles with body image, then this book should help you to work through these issues.
The writing isn’t going to earn Dawn a Pulitzer, but I don’t think this really matters. The topic is important, and Dawn says what she has to say in a straightforward and accessible way. I think this is more important than great writing.
The exercises Dawn gives are practical and should help you develop a sense of your own beauty from the inside out.
I’m glad that this book has been written.