Book review: Mastering Your Mean Girl

Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini
Review by Kylie Thompson

Genre: lifestyle and self-help

We don’t like to admit it, but almost everyone has a horrible little voice in the back of their mind, spewing self-loathing bile and generally making life far more painful than it needs to be. They’re the bully in the corner of the room, throwing things at the back of your head while you’re trying to work.

There’s a legion of self-help gurus and life coaches out there, ready to tell you how to conquer that ego voice, and if you’ve read any of the mountains of books on the subject, oftentimes you’re left wondering what on earth you’re actually meant to do. The ideas sound good, but so often they arrive without any real discussion about how to actually use them. “Make friends with your shadow self” sounds great in theory, but how, exactly, does someone do that?

Most of us don’t have the time or money to pull an Elizabeth Gilbert and take a world trip in the name of finding enlightenment. Far too many barely have time to finish the self-help book they’ve snatched up in a moment of clarity, overwhelm, or desperation.

For former model, dancer, and actress Melissa Ambrosini, that moment of desperation came when she hit her rock bottom: health issues forcing her to realise that the career she’d coveted since childhood wasn’t what she wanted to be doing. The vague, ‘woo-woo’ platitudes and directions were a source of frustration as she tried to figure out what came next. Her journey of self-discovery has created a business for Ambrosini: helping women to live the heart-centred life that works for them. And the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way have formed the basis of her book, Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No BS Guide to Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love.

Mastering Your Mean Girl is an easy read, but not a quick one. There are questions to ponder and answer, and exercises to try. But mostly, it’s time consuming in the way all thought-provoking works are: you need time to let the information settle. It’s not so much a flick through and nab ideas type of book as it is a platform for making lasting changes.

Sadly, there’s no lotions or potions to instantly improve your perspective. It’s one of those hard work kind of deals.

The photography feels more like a well-curated Instagram account than a self-help book. There is beautiful imagery galore; artistic shots and landscapes that form the backdrop to quotes and important ideas, and these are beautiful. So are Ambrosini’s photoshoots. But the photos of Ambrosini don’t always seem to fit with the conversation. Though Ambrosini is quick to dismiss the idea of her having a perfect life, it’s hard to remember that when looking at her photoshoots. Almost always smiling and laughing, looking like the typical model/celebrity that has it all- at times the images feel out of place against the reality of the conversation happening, and the work required to shift perspectives.

Overall, though, it’s a great starting point for those who are feeling as though something needs to give in their overly hectic lives, or those who feel like they’re perpetually exhausted and frustrated with everyone and everything. Will it make you ‘wildly wealthy’, like the cover says? Probably not in a way that involves actual money raining from the sky for you. It’s more the ‘empowerment and optimism bringing more opportunities’ type of wealth, I’m afraid. But if you’re looking for a way to start your day without need of coffee and scowling, it’s possibly a good book to add to your read pile.

Mastering Your Mean Girl is published by Harper Collins Australia, and is available through the publisher’s website, and leading bookstores around the country.

Rating: 4 stars

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