past-tense-book-cover1Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Past Tense, by Shawn and Ron Kilgarlin, reads like a daily devotional for anyone who has ever experienced stress. There are 24 sections in the book that cover everything from mental health issues, abuse and anger concerns, overcoming postpartum depression, holiday worries and how to squash them, faith based ideas, addiction and how to manage it, how to find happiness and reconnect with the family and how to live a better life in general. The authors include break out tips at the beginning of the main chapters, black and white photos of people in various life situations appropriate to the chapter titles, and add a quote form a famous person at the bottom (or top, or both bottom and top) of each page. There is a Resource Guide at the back of the book which shows other helpful websites for breaking the stress cycle, as well as hotline numbers if the reader is interested in following up on other issues of concern.

Everyone needs help with remembering to manage stress before it conquers you first, and this book is a source of constant strength and ideas for anyone who is smart enough to pick it up. It is thick, it is heavy, so buy a bigger tote to carry it in–you will thank yourself later. I keep it in a flat sided tote in my car now, and can read it whenever I am stuck somewhere or waiting for someone. To be completely honest with you, I can’t formally “finish” this book since I keep re-reading some sections to allow the ideas and advice to sift through my conscious then unconscious, and I need more time to process these thoughts to make real solutions to my stress issues.

What I enjoyed most about the book is that each idea was presented neatly on one page or so, and it was a complete thought, not a jumbled mass of ideas. The sections were well thought out and they made perfect sense; of course, it is more difficult to apply new advice to your own life. Oh, you will understand it just fine, but actually doing what you should do 100% of the time is harder than it looks, and I would say it is definitely not for amateurs.

After reading Past Tense though, I am less upset when I have to wait for someone else (reading more of the book is as calming as knitting), and I am less inclined to argue since it is not as important to be correct on any one issue, but more important to just enjoy someone else’s company and reduce his or her stress in the process. Personally, I feel that I have beaten stress and made it part of my past and that is pure magic. The book is highly recommended for anyone of any age who has stress and does not know where to start with making changes. Buy the book and take a sturdy canvas bag to the store with you. You will need it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by American Screening Corp. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.