19 reviews

Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
by Katrina Kenison

Published: 2013-01-08
Hardcover : 288 pages
136 members reading this now
26 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 19 of 19 members
"No longer indispensable, no longer assured of our old carefully crafted identities, no longer beautiful in the way we were at twenty or thirty or forty, we are hungry and searching nonetheless."

From the author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day, this intimate memoir of loss, self-discovery, ...
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"No longer indispensable, no longer assured of our old carefully crafted identities, no longer beautiful in the way we were at twenty or thirty or forty, we are hungry and searching nonetheless."

From the author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day, this intimate memoir of loss, self-discovery, and growth will resonate deeply with any woman who has ever mourned the passage of time, questioned her own purpose, or wondered, "Do I have what it takes to create something new in my life?"

With the candor and warmth that have endeared her to readers, Kenison reflects on the inevitable changes wrought by time: the death of a dear friend, children leaving home, recognition of her own physical vulnerability, and surprising shifts in her marriage. She finds solace in the notion that midlife is also a time of unprecedented opportunity for growth as old roles and responsibilities fall away, and unanticipated possibilities appear on the horizon.

More a spiritual journey than a physical one, Kenison's beautifully crafted exploration begins and ends with a home, a life, a marriage. But this metamorphosis proves as demanding as any trek or pilgrimage to distant lands-it will guide and inspire every woman who finds herself asking "What now?"

Editorial Review

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Mostly, we play Banana.

It is the last week of July, a stretch of hot, sunny, high-summer weather, and my son and I have six schools to visit in six days, strung from the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont to the southwestern corner of Massachusetts. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Katrina admits that for many years she found her sense of purpose in the roles she was expected to fulfill: married woman, mother, writer, editor, home-maker. After her younger son leaves home, she feels unmoored and reveals, “Now I suspect I didn’t know who I was, so much as where I needed to be at any given moment and what I needed to be doing.”

Where do you find your sense of purpose? Have changes in your life or circumstances ever shaken your sense of self?

2. “It’s so easy to overlook the wonder of life until something threatens to snatch it from us. How willingly we sacrifice the days of our lives to trivial distractions—silly computer games, unnecessary errands, useless worry.”

Do you agree? How do you remind yourself to pay attention to the wonder of life? Have you ever received a “wake-up call” that jolted you into deeper awareness? What was it?

3. “A good life is always partly a matter of luck, but it is also a choice we make for ourselves – a choice of deliberation, attention, creativity, limits. A choice predicated on this belief: I am worthy.”

How do you define a good life? After years of caring for children, meeting the demands of jobs, tending to marriages and colleagues and friends, how difficult is it for us to switch gears and begin to attend more closely to our own needs as well? Are you able to say, “I am worthy” -- and to make choices that meet your own needs?

Suggested by Members

by semcg (see profile) 01/27/14

Are there themes in this book that seem relevant to all stages of adulthood? What struck you as universal regardless of age?
How does a writer manage to say what she needs and wants to say without violating the confidences of family and friends or, indeed, her own sense of privacy?
by ElizabethMarro (see profile) 01/25/14

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by june s. (see profile) 02/04/19

by Daina Z. (see profile) 11/14/23

by Debora S. (see profile) 10/21/19

by sarah E. (see profile) 04/03/18

  "Magical Journey: an apprenticeship in contentment"by Sherri T. (see profile) 04/13/17

A thoughtful memoir of life as it changes when the empty nest syndrome appears and how the writer discovers a new life ahead of her.

  "too long and self indulgent"by Sue D. (see profile) 09/10/14

Our entire group agreed- too long and too self indulgent, would possibly have worked as a magazine article. We just could not relate to the feelings of the author.

  "Truly a magical journey..."by Shin-Yi H. (see profile) 02/25/14

Beautifully written book with many life lessons and profound quotes.

  "Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment"by Lori R. (see profile) 02/03/14

Magical Journey provided me with a respite from the bustling, and often frenetic, pace of daily life, allowing me to exhale and remember how quickly time passes. Bittersweet, nostalgic and hopeful...a... (read more)

  "Love"by Amy K. (see profile) 01/31/14

I picked up Katrina's book at the library and found myself feeling as if she knew me. So many moments I knew that she understood this time in our life. I am heading out tomorrow to buy my own copy.

  "Magical beautiful book!"by Terri M. (see profile) 01/29/14

This book echoed the sentiments of my heart! Katrina’s voice excels with insight into the thoughts and feelings of women whose children have left the nest and are beginning a new journey of identity.... (read more)

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