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Book Review: Lost and Found

I always get excited when I’m about to read another book by Geneen Roth and I remained excited after finishing her most recent foray into self-help, LOST AND FOUND: UNEXPECTED REVELATIONS ABOUT FOOD AND MONEY. I encourage you all to read it, whether your problems are in the eating or money arena, or both.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Roth and her husband lost pretty much all their savings when Bernie Madoff was handcuffed and led away to prison for swindling investors in a Ponzi scheme. Roth writes about her devastation and gradual, painful recovery in a way that is so honest, it’s painful to read. Therapists talk alot about our job of helping people remove their “emotional masks” to reveal their authentic selves. Well, no one does unmasking as well as Roth, and it is her brutal honesty and clarity about herself which makes your heart catch—and teaches you volumes about yourself.

Yes, she discusses overcoming her eating disorders (severe restriction through binge-eating) and, yes, she details her dysfunctional childhood and how through therapy and Buddhist practice, she’s come to terms with it (for the most part). But what’s most impressive is how she plumbs her own psychological depths. Most of us who’ve spent our lives in and out of therapy and providing counseling to others do a pretty good job of acknowledging what’s wrong with us. But Roth goes about as deeply as one can go, and that is what makes her books—and teachings—so special and enlightening.

Some of the book’s messages are about how not to feel deprived and how to enjoy food, but most deal with how to have a healthy relationship with money, which means exploring your beliefs and routing out your demons. Her most valuable lesson is about turning shame into pride by taking your most egregious mistakes and crafting them into something worthy and valuable to yourself and others. Too many of us hide our perceived sins and end up steeping ourselves in shame. Roth teaches us that, as the AA saying goes, hidden from ourselves and others, our secrets keep us sick.

Reading LOST AND FOUND is about finding the missing parts of yourself that keep you stuck in ugly food patterns and other destructive habits. It’s about garnering pride from confronting what keeps you ashamed and moving from shadow to sunlight. Roth insists that most, if not all, of us have money “issues.” Even if you think you don’t, there’s enough in this soul-searching, beautifully written book to take you to the next level of healing no matter where you are in the recovery process.

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