Book Review: Slow by Brooke McAlary

I’ve recently gotten to the top of a few wait lists at the library for books I’ve been wanting to read – so there might be an influx of book reviews coming! Also, I love that making a list of books and “ordering” them online at the library is literally a tip in this book. It’s a big time saver for me. Due to my working hours/commute, I can only get to my local library Friday evenings (they stay open until about 8pm) or Saturday (they’re not open Sunday) so if I was to try and luck my way into finding the books I wanted, I’d never read another book again (which is why this is also a tip of mine in this post).


Book Review: Slow by Brooke McAlary


Slow by Brooke McAlary


To be honest, the book did not resonate with me at first. The overall message is fine, but the early pages and specifics of having so much stuff the cars don’t fit in the garage isn’t me. I’ve never tried to keep up with the Joneses. Of course, saying that makes it sound like I’m some perfect person. Ha. No, becuase a) I’m so not and b) no one is. (If they tell you they are, they’re lying.) I understand that these things are ingrained habits for others though, and I expect that they will resonate with many people. Seriously, I don’t shop much and then when I declutter I still have NFI where the STUFF has come from! 


The great thing about this book is that it’s specifically NOT prescriptive. Fear of yet more prescriptive teaching was probably why it sat on my bedside table for a week or two before I actually picked it up to read it. So if that’s your fear too, then fear not. Pick up the book. 



What surprised me the most was the chapter on mindfulness. While acknowledging that people now want to make money off that too (which in the helping you personally way, I’m fine with, but in the “buy my app and 10 step never fail course” way, then, well, go away), I found that I am actually quite mindful. I do notice new flowers. Different spiderwebs. New smells. I never thought of myself as a mindful person before reading this book and now I think maybe I am. Perhaps that’s in part becuase photography is my hobby. Maybe it’s good that I don’t share it online. Maybe it’s a good hobby as it helps you think about framing, so your world view looks for unique angles and lights. 


If you like this blog post, you can buy me a virtual coffee.


Standards – The Self-Imposed Kind


Slow Excerpt Dropping Standards


Dropping standards is something I think needs to be talked about more often. In the past year I’ve had challenges and busy times, postgrad study, low iron, chronic tonsillitis, tonsillectomy… 


Nothing serious, nothing un-treatable, but enough that it impacts day to day life. Significantly. I had to drop some standards to get through parts of that. Some things were easy, like accepting I might not take every meal to work from home because I just didn’t have the energy to make both breakfast and lunch. (Plus, my breakfast takeaway is a delicious $5 turkish bacon & egg roll, so it’s really easy to say yes to.) 


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The other parts were harder. Low iron and postgrad studies and a full time job was hard. I had to become a failure to succeed. By failure, I mean I had to apply for extensions on all of my assignments. That was being a failure in my book. I had never done that before. I was a good student. Never mind I had a medically diagnosed condition and that the dietician who worked with me on eating iron rich was shocked I was managing work and study… It was a bad thing to do. Bad people got extensions. I have literally no idea why that was a thought I had. But it was. I had to let myself feel like a failure while submitting medical certificates online. Of course they were accepted without question. Becuase I had a medical condition! I guess it’s a standard that I had set for myself and I had to let it go. And it was hard becuase it wasn’t a standard I could replace with bacon, like the breakfast dilemma. 


There’s a lot of food for thought in Slow. I encourage you to read it. I didn’t learn anything earth shattering, but I did learn that I’m actually pretty good at all this stuff. The why’s of what I do and choose are actually in alignment with my wants and needs in my life. 


The one thing I think could be included is a section on people. It’s ok to choose who is allowed in your life. Even family. Even stopping talking to friends. Toxic people, or even people who you’ve simply grown apart from, are people you don’t have an obligation to keep in your life. It’s not mean to not feel an obligation to people. We diverge at times in our lives. That’s ok. 


Have you read Slow? Do you think you’re in a good place with living how you want to? Have you ever felt like you need to keep up with the Joneses? 


17 Replies to “Book Review: Slow by Brooke McAlary”

  1. I havent read this book but I do listen to her podcasts. Learning to not beat yourself up for not getting things right was and still is sometimes a big one for me

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think so much of that kind of thing is literally just practice!

  2. I absolutely now need to read this book. This is exactly what I need in my life right now. FYI when we were kids, we would head to the Redcliffe library most Friday nights to choose new books and then sit on the beach with Fish and Chips. Best memories ever!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Something to calm the house between inspections sounds like it could help! Hey, maybe a copy on display would set the mood and someone will buy 🙂

  3. I just finished this book the other day. It definitely has some take always for me. I’m already good with clutter but mindfulness is something I really need to improve on!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Ah, see clutter is something I’m terrible at avoiding! I need to learn to put stuff away.

  4. I’ve wanted to read this book and yes, I will order it from the library. I consider myself a wannabe minimalist and find there is no better way to enjoy books than from the library! I’ve just finished “Everything That Remains” by The Minimalists. It’s a memoir and like you and Brooke’s book, there weren’t game changing revelations but there was so much that resonated with me. There’s something super satisfying about reading a good book, isn’t there?!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I’d love to buy more books but I also don’t have any bookshelf space

  5. Sounds like a lot of other books in that area without the profanities? 😛 To be honest, I could do with ‘slowing’ down and being more mindful.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I really should have written my profanity book earlier haha. Now people are getting bandwagon against them.

  6. I saw this book somewhere else recently. It must be calling to me …

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It must be!

  7. I just finished reading this book a few days ago after also borrowing a copy from my local library. I’ve been a fan of the Slow Your Home podcast for some time. The book really resonated with me and I think I will buy my own copy to revisit a few sections again. I like the idea that slow or simple living is not just about decluttering my life of ‘things’ but also decluttering my mind.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I actually haven’t listened to the podcast, funnily enough. I tend to listen to unsolved mystery podcasts as I find them relaxing.

  8. I came to read this post because I am fascinated by how many people are extolling the virtues of this ‘movement’ …or not. called Slow.
    I thought I might find it patronising at my age so will probably not buy/borrow it.
    However, I am glad to read that you have discovered you are more mindful than your thought.
    Your photos tell me that!
    Prompt after next on Life this week is Mindfulness!! PS HINT! you are doing it now!
    Denyse x

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think the lack of it being prescriptive is what helps it to be non patronising. But then again we all do learn and mature in our own ways and speeds so if you’ve come to be happy with where you are, then it might not add anything of value for you.

      1. Thanks Ness. Wise words!! I didn’t get to look at my IBOT numbers till today and realised I had already checked your post out!! Denyse #teamIBOT

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