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Iyanla Vanzant's Peace from Broken Pieces
A Book Review
Best-selling author and former TV host, Iyanla (pronounce E-yanla) Vanzant has published a new autobiography detailing the events of her life during the illness and death of her middle daughter. Peace from Broken Pieces includes its purpose in its sub title, How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. Those who know Ms. Vanzant’s work will probably be surprised by some of her revelations; those who don’t will be overwhelmed by her story.
A Life Falls Apart
Peace from Broken Pieces is a deeply moving story that begins with a prologue describing Christmas day, 2004-- the day Gemmia Vanzant dies. Ms. Vanzant clicks off the hours, forcing readers to experience almost hour by hour, the ending of a life that mattered more to her than her own. She stops relaying the details of that day by tying it to the death of all else that had been meaningful in her life up to that time. She comes back to the tragic event of her daughter’s death late in the book so that readers can see its importance in the context of her illustrious life falling apart.
Spiritual Truths Included
Beyond the personal aspects of Peace…is the spiritual truths that Ms. Vanzant weaves into the text. Important life lessons about living out generational family pathologies, creating and projecting personal lies, accepting and moving forward in one’s greatness, and the importance of surrender all make the details of her life falling apart seem less tragic than they would be otherwise. She pulls together all the elements of the story in the closing chapter when she is reading Psalm 27, her daughter’s and her favorite, and suddenly feels her daughter’s presence mingled with the presence of God, and she finally gets the lessons all these experiences were meant to teach. Her realization gives credence to the quote, “All things are as they need to be” (299). It proves accurate her own teaching that none of our life’s experiences happen TO us; they happen FOR us.
This book gets my highest recommendation. Although it doesn’t really give readers a skill-set for how to get through tragedies, it certainly opens us up to a way of seeing tragedies as opportunities for growth. Iyanla Vanzant went from having a biweekly world-wide visibility on The Oprah Winfrey Show and her own talk show backed by Barbara Walters to her name not being heard at all. Her life fell apart. Peace from Broken Pieces shows us that once she was able to get the lesson that came with that downfall, she was able to claim her authentic self and live the spiritual truths that she teaches. It is a must read for those who can’t seem to find peace in their own lives.