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Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live

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The creator of the stunning visual memoirs Spilling Open and Brave on the Rocks continues her personal journey of growth and discovery in this collection of striking multimedia collages and prose that is raw, touching, and refreshingly authentic.


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The creator of the stunning visual memoirs Spilling Open and Brave on the Rocks continues her personal journey of growth and discovery in this collection of striking multimedia collages and prose that is raw, touching, and refreshingly authentic.

30 review for Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live

  1. 5 out of 5

    AnandaTashie

    Like her previous, the book looks a lot like an art journal with mixed media collages, photography, and writing. It focuses on her choices, her body image, her desire to love and live fully. There's a lot of beauty and quite a bit of melodrama. Yet... A couple of spreads / passages made the book for me: "I carry with me stories of forgiveness and how much I've tried not to worry. I carry my worry. I carry my concern. I carry a green chipped painted canoe and paddle. I carry Dad's fishing lessons Like her previous, the book looks a lot like an art journal with mixed media collages, photography, and writing. It focuses on her choices, her body image, her desire to love and live fully. There's a lot of beauty and quite a bit of melodrama. Yet... A couple of spreads / passages made the book for me: "I carry with me stories of forgiveness and how much I've tried not to worry. I carry my worry. I carry my concern. I carry a green chipped painted canoe and paddle. I carry Dad's fishing lessons and learning the necessity of silence, and loons bobbing on the lake surface. I carry my mother's make-up bag and her wedding ring lost on the lake surface. I carry with me the front steps of every home I ever lived in..." And, later: "I carry a new collection. Less notes and drawings. This is filled with music notes and wide sky guitar playing before breakfast. Reading out loud, dancing on the roof. This man can flip me." "When do we know we have found our true north?" "We were all singing together around candles and colored pencils. I soaked in the warm songs of my tribe. I am filled with happiness, not perfect rightness, just a softening of understanding for the way life is going. This has all happened before us. We came from the past, from songs and fire and sideway glances. We create it all over again, untied and loose we travel together, making it to the next landing point, bags in fists, eyes wide open."

  2. 5 out of 5

    christina

    This book is a collection of narrative collage and photo essay of the authors time in NYC, I am liking it quite a bit, mostly I admire her confidence in herself to make and publish these self reflections. It does give me motivation that I find her journey interesting, but if it I were doing this book I would probably say to myself "who cares, no one will find this intersting" but it is! This book is a collection of narrative collage and photo essay of the authors time in NYC, I am liking it quite a bit, mostly I admire her confidence in herself to make and publish these self reflections. It does give me motivation that I find her journey interesting, but if it I were doing this book I would probably say to myself "who cares, no one will find this intersting" but it is!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I really did not understand the point of this book. The pictures were interesting, but to me, not interesting enough to justify the book in and of themselves. The text was very difficult to read on most pages. Someone should provide the author with a proper writing implement. Anyway, as I said, I just didn't really get it. I really did not understand the point of this book. The pictures were interesting, but to me, not interesting enough to justify the book in and of themselves. The text was very difficult to read on most pages. Someone should provide the author with a proper writing implement. Anyway, as I said, I just didn't really get it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    In going back over my list of books, I honored Sabrina Ward Harrison's first book, and then realized I hadn't done a review for this lovely book. As a teacher, I have lent her books out to so many teen girls and they are like the best bandaid for the heart ever. They never talk down, they invite up! I like the idea of messy thrilling applied to life and every once in a while, even I, a so-called adult, need to be reminded to see life with feisty resilience. I need to remember a game I played whi In going back over my list of books, I honored Sabrina Ward Harrison's first book, and then realized I hadn't done a review for this lovely book. As a teacher, I have lent her books out to so many teen girls and they are like the best bandaid for the heart ever. They never talk down, they invite up! I like the idea of messy thrilling applied to life and every once in a while, even I, a so-called adult, need to be reminded to see life with feisty resilience. I need to remember a game I played while in college. I only possessed a bicycle - so many of my friends had cars, but there was no money for that, so the bike was my "wheels." I used to have this game that basically had the rules of no brakes - if I could get all the way from the highway, through roads and to my class across campus without using my brakes - well, that was a win. sounds so simple! It wasn't, but I was bold or perhaps taught myself some boldness. There were medians to ride when traffic flowed, there were curbs to hop, shortcuts to take, yelling warnings (my brakes don't work) so that people moved. Was I bold? yes. Was it incredibly insane at times? Yes. Did I win much? Yes. Was it rude? Sometimes! I just like the memory of jumping curbs and the ridiculous riding down medians. I was insane! I was young and impatient and alive and open. That isn't such a bad memory to carry forth from decade to decade. I hope that I remember to have a messy thrilling life and that I continue to have to figure out how to live. My grandfather called the verb of living the search for the growing edge. You are always on your way to becoming something hopefully spangly and actively able to jump curbs.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    (Non-fiction: Visual Memoir) I came across Sabrina Ward Harrison's work in a teen magazine when I was in high school and sought out her books. I have such respect and admiration for this woman. She has created 3 visual memoirs where she unabashedly and creatively captures the moments and times in her life that stretch her, challenge her, revive her, rejuvenate her. She has the work drive of a horse and the sensitivity like a peach, which reminds me of myself. I read her books every now in then t (Non-fiction: Visual Memoir) I came across Sabrina Ward Harrison's work in a teen magazine when I was in high school and sought out her books. I have such respect and admiration for this woman. She has created 3 visual memoirs where she unabashedly and creatively captures the moments and times in her life that stretch her, challenge her, revive her, rejuvenate her. She has the work drive of a horse and the sensitivity like a peach, which reminds me of myself. I read her books every now in then to remember what's important in life and how I want my character to reflect love, grace, and compassion in this world. Her work, works everytime.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    It's visually stunning, and I certainly related to a lot of the emotions raised during her move to NYC and her initial time here. In the end, though, I didn't feel like I particularly gained much from reading it. I think I would have liked it more when I was in middle school or high school and trying to find my place in the world in a different way than I am right now. It's visually stunning, and I certainly related to a lot of the emotions raised during her move to NYC and her initial time here. In the end, though, I didn't feel like I particularly gained much from reading it. I think I would have liked it more when I was in middle school or high school and trying to find my place in the world in a different way than I am right now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Not exactly what I expected, although I did enjoy some of the art. The book is labeled as "Self Help" but it definitely isn't since it is actually a memoir done through art journaling of the author's life in New York. Unfortunately, a lot of the text is unreadable as well. Not exactly what I expected, although I did enjoy some of the art. The book is labeled as "Self Help" but it definitely isn't since it is actually a memoir done through art journaling of the author's life in New York. Unfortunately, a lot of the text is unreadable as well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Gallett

    BEAUTIFUL ART.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad Blackman

    Loved the messy, lush illustrations and personal angles.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    this book caught me and i havn't given up sabrina since! this book caught me and i havn't given up sabrina since!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    very disappointing

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bonita Rose

    Sabrina's follow up book.. I want this one too! Sabrina's follow up book.. I want this one too!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    soooo good. everyone should own this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Stewart

    The book reads as an art journal with the words combined with art. I enjoyed both the writing and the art work very much.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Callista

    Not as inspiring as "Spilling Open". Not as inspiring as "Spilling Open".

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    This is by far my absolutely favorite of all her books. There's one part with a portrait of a woman talking about having a segment on the news and it's so heart-touching. This is by far my absolutely favorite of all her books. There's one part with a portrait of a woman talking about having a segment on the news and it's so heart-touching.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Krissy

    Just not that exciting. I'd rather read a SARK book - it has some nice bits, but I didn't find it that beautiful or encaptivating. Just not that exciting. I'd rather read a SARK book - it has some nice bits, but I didn't find it that beautiful or encaptivating.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    ...I WANT TO GO CRAZY.... "I feel a mixture of shy and powerful in this city. no one really knows me, and that feels free and a little scary." "I don't know what I'm becoming." ...I WANT TO GO CRAZY.... "I feel a mixture of shy and powerful in this city. no one really knows me, and that feels free and a little scary." "I don't know what I'm becoming."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mira

  20. 4 out of 5

    Prathmesh

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vijay Narayan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevy Lamb Anderson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maxine Kite

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alinadavid

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sagharkh

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  29. 5 out of 5

    Akhris Syafda

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie

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