book review: how we show up: reclaiming family, friendship, and community by mia birdsong03 May 2021
What are the main ideas?
- american dreamism, the trap of the american dream, is a root cause of much of our individual and collective suffering.
- the primacy of blood family is just one way to organize life and social relations. and, at least in the american context, it seems like the primacy is deeply dysfunctional.
- if we, individually and in community, release the ways we are implicitly taught what is and isn’t important about family, friendship, and community, we have an almost unlimited space in which to figure out how to make social life healthy and actually work for us instead of against us (and this “against” in my mind is the status we have now: where family and even some “friendships” are the sources of our greatest pain and wounds).
If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be?
cancel the american dream. challenge it in every place and way i can imagine.
How would I describe the book to a friend?
an incredible read. mia birdsong dives deep into the myth of the american dream and all the ways it creates fragile lives for us. starting at the innermost levels, self and home, and moving outwards to society, mia drills right down to the root assumptions of how we organize our social lives and challenges them one by one. this book is an easy read that, if you’re open to it, will make you rethink your whole social structure. and she does it through stories and anecdotes that, on their own are fun, and together, are game-changing. this is definitely one to read with a friend or group.
sidenote: i realized while discussing this book with a friend that mia doesn’t use love as a primary organizing thread or framework for this book. after i saw that, i couldn’t unsee it. and given how important love is to me as an organizing force and value, i really want to ask her why.
reminder: book review structure
words / writing / post-processing
336w / 15min / 5min