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What It Looks Like: An Awakening Through Love and Trauma, War and Music, Sports and History, Politics and Spirituality

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Marta Maranda doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, or have destructive sexual patterns. She is committed to exercise, eats healthfully, and has never had a cup of coffee in her life. But despite not having the substance or behavioral addictions widely associated with rehab, she checked herself into a five-week program, one week after her former husband checked out, to discover Marta Maranda doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, or have destructive sexual patterns. She is committed to exercise, eats healthfully, and has never had a cup of coffee in her life. But despite not having the substance or behavioral addictions widely associated with rehab, she checked herself into a five-week program, one week after her former husband checked out, to discover her part in the dysfunction in her life. What It Looks Like tells the story of the events that led to her decision to enter rehab voluntarily and sober, her five weeks in the clinic alongside nearly 70 addicts, and the changes in her life after she left. Her journey takes her inward on a quest of self-exploration and healing, out into a world of war, politics, history, sports, and spirituality, and finally home as she rebuilds her life piece by piece. And this is what it looks like.


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Marta Maranda doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, or have destructive sexual patterns. She is committed to exercise, eats healthfully, and has never had a cup of coffee in her life. But despite not having the substance or behavioral addictions widely associated with rehab, she checked herself into a five-week program, one week after her former husband checked out, to discover Marta Maranda doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, or have destructive sexual patterns. She is committed to exercise, eats healthfully, and has never had a cup of coffee in her life. But despite not having the substance or behavioral addictions widely associated with rehab, she checked herself into a five-week program, one week after her former husband checked out, to discover her part in the dysfunction in her life. What It Looks Like tells the story of the events that led to her decision to enter rehab voluntarily and sober, her five weeks in the clinic alongside nearly 70 addicts, and the changes in her life after she left. Her journey takes her inward on a quest of self-exploration and healing, out into a world of war, politics, history, sports, and spirituality, and finally home as she rebuilds her life piece by piece. And this is what it looks like.

51 review for What It Looks Like: An Awakening Through Love and Trauma, War and Music, Sports and History, Politics and Spirituality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melek

    This is one of those, 'this could have been awesome, but...' books. First of all, it's really hard to get into it. You have to go through and suffer at least the first 15% to get to the good parts, and I can't say I'm the most patient person. I almost abandoned it more than a few times, skipped and skimmed some parts and I can't say that these were only until I reached that 15%. The problem is the writing. It wasn't too awful, in fact I've seen a lot worse, but still, it was nowhere near being goo This is one of those, 'this could have been awesome, but...' books. First of all, it's really hard to get into it. You have to go through and suffer at least the first 15% to get to the good parts, and I can't say I'm the most patient person. I almost abandoned it more than a few times, skipped and skimmed some parts and I can't say that these were only until I reached that 15%. The problem is the writing. It wasn't too awful, in fact I've seen a lot worse, but still, it was nowhere near being good. It simply kills the main subject and you find yourself wondering when she'll start making sense or the book'll get interesting. I kept on reading mostly because I don't like DNF'ing ARCs than I wanted to read it. Overall, this is a helpful book. It gives you most of what it promises, though not all of them are very detailed. Is it worth a read, I don't know, but I don't regret reading it. 2.5/5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maria Ryan

    A Complicated Memoir The author tells her story of her decision to enter a rehabilitation clinic, the same one her addict husband attended, after participating in his family week. While visiting, the staff strongly encouraged Maranda to enroll herself in their five week intensive aimed at uncovering and working on her own issues although she herself had never battled addiction or substance abuse. Maranda didn’t so much as drink, smoke, or consume coffee. While at the center, Maranda slowly gained A Complicated Memoir The author tells her story of her decision to enter a rehabilitation clinic, the same one her addict husband attended, after participating in his family week. While visiting, the staff strongly encouraged Maranda to enroll herself in their five week intensive aimed at uncovering and working on her own issues although she herself had never battled addiction or substance abuse. Maranda didn’t so much as drink, smoke, or consume coffee. While at the center, Maranda slowly gained insight into her co-dependencies and knee-jerk responses as she obtained the necessary tools to more effectively manage her own life. What it Looks Like at this point read much like a daily journal. After leaving the five week intensive, Maranda continued to do the hard work of reaching her authentic self or self-actualization according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a paradigm she explains in Psychology 101 textbook fashion. This is where her story veered off on tangents that seemingly lost focus. Next, she gave multiple lessons in history and political awareness with laser-sharp detail. As interesting as her historical retellings were and as well described as they were, they caused me to question her decision to publish. She did loop back to the main point and tied into what true authenticity looks like according to what she learned at the center however she took an often frustrating and meandering path. It seemed apparent that Maranda had much to work out in her own mind. I again questioned whether this book really belonged in the realm of unpublished personal journal. Early on, I found myself wondering who Maranda was. I was curious as to who would have the time and financial means to undertake this type of journey and then write about it so extensively. Also strange is the husband whom she said very little about but whose presence as a recognizable figure looms prominently. Oftentimes throughout the book, what Maranda didn’t say spoke louder than what she did. It turned out that Maranda is wife number three of four for Rush Limbaugh. From what I learned, the details of the split cannot be discussed. She has done extremely well in real estate which explains how she could afford the clinic’s hefty price tag. Maranda mentioned that after completing her stint in rehab she was asked for a divorce. She left behind the house that she spent quite a great deal of time building and establishing. Admittedly, learning these details about her personal life were telling for me. Her story made more sense but there was the ring of inauthenticity in her not being more forthcoming. Part memoir and part admonishment for those not living authentically through their daily examples, I do believe Maranda worked hard to not come off as preachy. Judging from the lack of reviews across a number of outlets, I wondered if her story came off as too complex and overwhelming and could have been written better to include a wider audience. In spite of this, Maranda offered up plenty of valuable insights and much to takeaway. Her story however fell short of true inspiration.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mary B.

    Step away from the televised sensationalism of “reality” rehab shows and read this book if you want to gain a truer understanding of how and when rehab programs for addiction do (and sometimes don’t) work. The unusual aspect to this particular look into the addiction and recovery process lies in the author’s unique perspective. Marta Maranda had no history of addiction, not even smoking or coffee drinking, when she entered a rehab facility. At a family-week visit during her now ex-husband’s subs Step away from the televised sensationalism of “reality” rehab shows and read this book if you want to gain a truer understanding of how and when rehab programs for addiction do (and sometimes don’t) work. The unusual aspect to this particular look into the addiction and recovery process lies in the author’s unique perspective. Marta Maranda had no history of addiction, not even smoking or coffee drinking, when she entered a rehab facility. At a family-week visit during her now ex-husband’s substance-abuse treatment program, counselors urged her to enter treatment, too. Puzzled, Maranda fought the notion that she had serious-enough issues, problems of an addictive nature, to require in-patient rehabilitation. She was proved wrong, and here we learn the ins and outs of why. For five intensive weeks, a typical in-patient stay, Maranda “worked the program” alongside substance abusers, sex addicts, and gamblers by attending the facility’s programs, groups, and therapy sessions. Even for a non-addict, the process was grueling, we learn. Called upon to confront the truth of her own life, the author learned many surprising facts about her past and how it impacted her decision-making. She found herself surrounded by addicts used to making excuses and rationalizing away their behaviors, only to realize that she had done much the same by acting as an enabler. Says Maranda, “You can’t act with self-respect when you don’t trust yourself. We could act to hide something, but we could never be who we wanted without the truth.” Throughout her rehab stay, the author observed the workings--the flaws and the successes--of this inner sanctum. She describes in detail not only her own journey, but also the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of the other participants and the counselors. Hers is an unusually clear-eyed account, filled with much soul-searching, and never pat or preachy in the way of many self-help/recovery books. Interwoven throughout the book are passages summarizing the views and findings of various well-known psychologists. These frame the author’s steps toward reaching insight along her own path to recovery from enabling others and also serve to instruct the reader. At times, these psychology passages make for slow reading, as does the author’s annoying writing “tic” of using several consecutive adjectives or phrasings to make a point when one would do. Her overarching metaphor of house building falls a bit flat, probably because of occasionally intrusive explications. But her winning conversational style pulls the reader in and makes him/her feel warmly engaged in Maranda’s story of healing with honesty and relating to others in more healthy ways. Overall, "What It Looks Like" stands apart from other books in the recovery field with its eye-opening insights as gleaned from the perspective of a non-professional, non-addict who has become well acquainted with the addiction and recovery process.

  4. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    I just found out I won this book through a First Reads giveaway. I will post a review after I have read it. UPDATE: I don't know what to say about this book. I don't even know where to start. First off, the book is huge, 351 pages of text, and another 50+ pages of notes. When I received the book, it just seemed so daunting. Then I started reading it. I couldn't tell where the author was going. I couldn't even tell where the author wanted to go. Was this a memoir? A self-help book? A commentary on " I just found out I won this book through a First Reads giveaway. I will post a review after I have read it. UPDATE: I don't know what to say about this book. I don't even know where to start. First off, the book is huge, 351 pages of text, and another 50+ pages of notes. When I received the book, it just seemed so daunting. Then I started reading it. I couldn't tell where the author was going. I couldn't even tell where the author wanted to go. Was this a memoir? A self-help book? A commentary on "war and music, sports and history, politics and spirituality" as listed on the front cover? I couldn't tell. I really had a difficult time getting into it. Honestly, I was at least 100 pages into the book before I felt I wanted to stick with it. Up until then, I was pretty much on the brink of abandoning it with every page I read. It wasn't a bad book, but it certainly didn't hold my attention at first. As for what it is...Yes, it's a memoir, of Maranda's time in rehab, as well as her healing process and the shit that got her messed up in the first place. And yes, it is also a self help book. A lot of what I read in this book really did help me, which I did not see coming in the first 100 pages. I recoiled from much of the rhetoric Maranda repeated from her five weeks in rehab, but many of the lessons she learned about healing and included at the end of the book, I found very helpful. Here's an example, from page 334, "...acceptance is not an opportunity to be dismissive. It does not mean you escape responsibility for your actions. And it is not a justification for future inaction, or a way to disregard the lesson that must be learned." Oh. Yeah. That makes sense. The most interesting part of the book to me was the "Part III: The Beginning." In this section, Maranda uses the skills she learned in rehab to critique U.S. foreign policy and and the U.S. two-party political system in ways I haven't experienced since anarchist discussions at the infoshop. She also explains how politicians (particularly George W. Bush) would actually act if they truly embraced the Christian beliefs they profess. As far as the sports and music parts the front cover promises...not so much. Yes, she does use some events from the sports world to illustrate some of the points she makes, but just a few times. As for music, she explains how she started listening to different music after rehab, but music is not at all central to the book. I feel like this review is doing a disservice to a book I ended up really appreciating. I feel unable to translate what the author was getting at into my own words. If writing about this book were a school project, I would be really unhappy right now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Aziz

    The book has a really interesting concept, one I was really interested in reading about. Instead I was made to wait while the author went on about her foundations in the most factual, dry manner possible. We were not taken back to pivotal moments in time. We were just told "this is my mom and this is my dad and this is what happened." But maybe I'm being too critical. We can't all be Hornbacher. By the time the author actually got to the clinic it was like reading a textbook. At this point I don The book has a really interesting concept, one I was really interested in reading about. Instead I was made to wait while the author went on about her foundations in the most factual, dry manner possible. We were not taken back to pivotal moments in time. We were just told "this is my mom and this is my dad and this is what happened." But maybe I'm being too critical. We can't all be Hornbacher. By the time the author actually got to the clinic it was like reading a textbook. At this point I don't know if she connected with anyone, if her husband was even THERE for family week, or if she had just been writing down anything that was on a whiteboard and this is the result. Even when we finally acknowledge that the husband is, indeed, there for family week, the passage is still incredibly narcissistic. The only thing that kept me reading was the hope that the author would show some character development. At the very least I hoped one of the lessons she learned would involve some kind of flashback. If I wanted nothing but facts and theories I would have requested a book on addiction from NetGalley, not a memoir. Finally, about 12 percent in, we got insight into Marta's life. We got some kind of idea of what she looked like and I got the flashbacks I had been hoping for. The book got so much better once she walked away from objectivity and started getting personal. Despite the author ultimately feeling better about herself, the clinic seems pretty shady. 1. Reach out to vulnerable loved ones a few weeks before family week. 2. Get vulnerable loved one to come to family week and tell them it's about them, not the actual patient. 3. Lure vulnerable loved one to week two. 4. Tell vulnerable loved one that enrolling in a full five weeks (that insurance partially covers, I'm sure) will save their lives because they're more critical than you thought. Overall, I'm really happy for Marta and the revelations she had while on the path to healing, and there's a lot of really good information in this book if you're looking for self help, but the writing style just wasn't for me. Rating: 3 of 5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I tried. I tried so hard. I picked it up over and over again, determined to finish, but I just couldn't. Don't get me wrong. This book holds interesting information. I just wasn't interesting to me. It's categorized as a memoir and I won't dispute that; it just isn't what I would expect of a memoir. It holds raw and emotional memories in its pages, but they come across as cold and just simply stated rather than told. If you're looking for the facts of what it is like for someone to go through a I tried. I tried so hard. I picked it up over and over again, determined to finish, but I just couldn't. Don't get me wrong. This book holds interesting information. I just wasn't interesting to me. It's categorized as a memoir and I won't dispute that; it just isn't what I would expect of a memoir. It holds raw and emotional memories in its pages, but they come across as cold and just simply stated rather than told. If you're looking for the facts of what it is like for someone to go through a rehab program and then continue their life afterwards, this is the book for you. I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Jackson

    Don't know why, but I couldn't finish it. The writing was confusing and the story wasn't interesting. Was about15% done and then just had to put it down Don't know why, but I couldn't finish it. The writing was confusing and the story wasn't interesting. Was about15% done and then just had to put it down

  8. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    DNF. I have tried to read this book many times and just can't get into it. Won a free copy on Goodreads! DNF. I have tried to read this book many times and just can't get into it. Won a free copy on Goodreads!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vykki

    This book was an interesting read. The author presented her ideas well. I won this book on goodreads.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne Haack

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claraise Vivien

  12. 5 out of 5

    J-cgirl

  13. 5 out of 5

    Asena

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  17. 4 out of 5

    France

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cyn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie Brody

  20. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Ng

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  23. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  24. 5 out of 5

    J

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Pooser

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  27. 4 out of 5

    Velda

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Mcghee

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  31. 5 out of 5

    Seanna Yeager

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jason Manford

  33. 4 out of 5

    Katie Harder-schauer

  34. 5 out of 5

    Brittany McCann

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ny

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Richardson

  37. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  38. 5 out of 5

    Yetesha

  39. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Soto

  40. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Ward

  42. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Landers

  43. 5 out of 5

    April Joy

  44. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Lowry

  45. 4 out of 5

    Aylu

  46. 4 out of 5

    Mamdouhnafady

  47. 4 out of 5

    Julie Witte

  48. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  49. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Cole Marie Mckinnon

  50. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  51. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

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