Oooh - I do love a book that gets me thinking about myself and how I can make improvements to my life, to make it better and my goodness, this was certainly one of those! It's a novel but a self-help one, a genre which will probably only make sense when you read it.
Maya owns a cafe, which she inherited from her Mom, and she made her a promise that she would look after it, but she's really unhappy there. It's just not her thing so she takes comfort from the cakes that she sells. She dreams of and has always wanted to be a writer, but can't find any inspiration at all and after running the cafe all day, doesn't have the time or the inclination. She also thinks that if she finds the perfect man, all her dreams will come true and her life will be complete.
One day, a mysterious old lady called Rose comes into the cafe and invites Maya to join her at her table. She declines at first, but then thinks that she's not busy and has nothing to lose and the words that Rose speaks are the most life changing, motivational and inspiring words that she's ever heard! Rose advises that before you can love another person in your life, you have to learn to love yourself. She tells her to listen to her heart, and to open up to spirituality. Then love someone without needing them and then that person becomes an enhancement to the fabulously happy life you already have. She tells her to follow her dreams. This leads to her seeking further spiritual advice which leads to further confirmation and encouragement to create the life that she would like and deserves.
It's a wonderfully positive lesson that you can follow your dreams, but you have to be bold and courageous and make them come true yourself, and not rely on or depend upon anyone else to make them for you. The world is out there for the taking, you just have to go right on and take it and make the most of everything. Also when you learn to love yourself, you will attract love to you.
It's written in such a beautiful way that's just so easy to read, and so interesting, that you don't want to stop following Maya's life changing and fulfilling story to find out what happens in the end. My mind was certainly working overtime as I came to the last page! It also made me pick up her next book 'Happier Than She's Even Been' straight away and make a start on it, not only to find out more about Maya's story, but also to see what other lessons I can learn!
Menna Van Praag is a freelance writer, Oxford graduate, journalist and chocolate aficionado. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Artur, and they are working on making their dreams of opening a bookshop-cafe together come true. Men, Money and Chocolate is Meena's first book.