Aussie Author Challenge Australian Women Writers Book Reviews

Book Review: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales #AWW2019

In 2014, journalist Leigh Sales was eight months pregnant when she suffered a uterine rupture and came close to death. Her marriage broke down later and there were other complications with her older son. In the same year, professionally, she covered two major stories – the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney and cricketer Phil Hughes’ sudden death on the field. This prompted her to delve further into blindsides, grief and resilience. How do people deal with the shit that life can throw at them? How do some people bounce back from seemingly unimaginable tragedies?

In Any Ordinary Day, Leigh interviews people who have suffered random and devastating tragedies. There is Stuart Diver, the survivor of the 1997 Thredbo landslide, Hannah Richelle, an author whose husband died in a surfing accident, Louisa Hope, one of the survivors of the Lindt cafe siege, Walter Mikac who lost his wife and two daughters in the Port Arthur massacre, James Scott who survived 43 days lost in the Himalayas among others. Some individuals she interviews have had more than one tragedy. In addition to the interviews, Sales intertwines her own thoughts and experiences, as well as psychological research on trauma and resilience.

The end result is a book that manages to fill you with hope while still making you realise everything in life is out of your control and that none of us is special. It is our beliefs and the way we interpret situations and events that will determine how we cope with them. And that it’s also okay to have days and moments when we don’t cope.

I loved this book. It had me in tears quite often and did fill me with anxiety but as I said, it also filled me with a great sense of hope. I know a lot of the research Sales mentions in the book. Rationally I know a lot of the things some of the interviewees talk about. For instance, Stuart Diver talks about schemas or core beliefs which is something as a psychologist, I have to work with a lot and challenge. But it also means, I’m aware of my own core beliefs and while I get to challenge them sometimes, there are other times I don’t.

In the end, this book shows you that life isn’t fair. Life isn’t meant to be fair. Bad things can happen to good people. It’s random and it’s how the universe works. None of us is special. None of us deserves more than others. And the sooner we let go of those beliefs, the better we will able to cope with any curveballs life throws at us.

Some quotes I loved from this book:

“Being alive, a fact that is both wonderful and terrible all at once – we never know what is coming next”

“We live imagining that there are certainties. That’s just this big, collective lie that we live in.”

“Every day we ascribe significance to the most random, meaningless events so as to give ourselves a sense of control over our world”

“We are each as vulnerable as the next person on the planet, and that was both a terrifying and enlightening fact”

It’s as if surviving the hardest thing – the greatest pain – frees me to live more courageously. You can crumble and give up. Or you can keep living and loving. I choose the latter.

“It’s knowing this is all going to end, so let’s make it matter.”

I could share many, many more quotes with you but I won’t. Rather, I do recommend you read the book. Because it’s what we need in this day. Because it could be any one of us. Living our lives. Going through our mundane routines. And being blindsided by tragedy.

My rating:

Where to find the book:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Kindle

Where to find the author:

Instagram | Twitter

***Read and reviewed for the 2019 Aussie Author Challenge and the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Also linking up with Min, Deb, Jo and Leanne for the Lovin Life Linky***

Until next time,

You Might Also Like

  • Anamika Agnihotri
    21 March 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Those quotes hold deep meaning in them. Thank you for reviewing this book and bringing such uniques books to your blog’s readers.

  • Obsessivemom
    22 March 2019 at 4:03 am

    Five stars! That’s something. I do see how this book can be inspiring while helping you come to grip with the real world.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Manufacture your own happinessMy Profile

  • Deborah
    22 March 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve heard such good things about this book but I don’t tend to read non-fiction. I probably should consider an audio book though because it’s the sort of subject that fascinates me. Fate, karma, bad luck and how we move on from that. How it’s the making of some and the destruction of others.
    Deborah recently posted…Checking in: March 2019My Profile

  • Joanne Tracey
    24 March 2019 at 9:07 am

    I’ve heard amazing things about this book and listened to a few podcasts where Leigh has spoken about it. I want to read it, I really do, but for some reason, I just can’t. Perhaps that’s the exact reason why I should. Thanks for linking up this week. #teamlovinlife
    Joanne Tracey recently posted…Imperfect pikelets that are sort of like crumpetsMy Profile

  • Shalzmojo
    25 March 2019 at 2:45 pm

    I imagine that reading this book would take some strength; real life incidents can be challenging! I remember the book story section in the Reader Digest at the end of the magazine where they would feature a story like this. I would be so down and about after reading some of them.

    I dont think I would have the courage to pick up this book as I would be crying through it all.

    Once again I am super duper impressed by the range of amazing books you read and bring out to your readers Sanch!
    Shalzmojo recently posted…#BookReview – A Court of Thorns & Roses / Fantasy FictionMy Profile