Book Review – Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV’s Most Influential Guru Advises

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV's Most Influential Guru AdvisesLiving Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV’s Most Influential Guru Advises by Robyn Okrant

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Oh dear, what can I say about this book that crashed my high expectations? I saw this on a to-read list of a friend on GoodReads, and it immediately appealed to me. I love experiment books. I love Oprah. A combination could only be the high spot of reading, no? I expected funny. I expected witty. I expected a light, entertaining read that would tickle me.

I didn’t get that. Okrant did, indeed, watch every Oprah show for a year. She did, indeed, read every episode of O magazine. And she attempted to do every single thing that Oprah told her to do. But holy dang did she take herself and this experiment way too seriously, and did she ever stress out way too much over entertainment.

The basis for her experiment was the idea that no person could do everything Oprah wants them to do without going broke and insane. Well, no. Because I genuinely don’t think Oprah – or any other maven of advising how to live a great life, like Martha Stewart, for example, who I also love and who the author holds up as a favourite of hers as well – actually wants you to attempt to do everything that they suggest. Some things aren’t going to work for you, or appeal to you, or fit into your life. And so, those are the things that you don’t do. Whereas others will make your life better, and those are the things you should do.

I thought this was pretty simple.

I usually watched every episode of Oprah, too, while it was on the air. Well, no, I DVR’ed every episode. Then I deleted the reruns, the shows about celebs I didn’t care about, the shows about books I wasn’t planning to read, the shows about stuff that didn’t apply to me and I watched. Unlike Okrant, I did not watch the commercials, as I really didn’t consider them a part of the whole “experience.” I considered them annoying commercials.

I wanted to put this down multiple times. I kept waiting for that epiphany to hit. I kept waiting for her to get enlightened or something. I kept waiting for the big reveal or the big explosion of knowledge, or *something*, anything to happen. I kept waiting to get through the tediousness of how awful it was to go clothes shopping or have a husband who patiently allows you to buy quirky chairs for every room (if we were broke, mine would so not be on board. I even asked), or how much it costs to cook from recipes instead of throwing together what’s already in your kitchen. Since I already cook from recipes I couldn’t relate. I was annoyed. I was bored. But I kept reading because I had hope.

In the last two sections – November and December – I started skimming huge swaths of text, just looking for the payoff, but it never came.

I would have rated this as 1.5 stars if I could have. There were parts that were okay, and the premise is interesting, and maybe others will get stuff out of it that I didn’t, but mostly… yeah, I didn’t like it.

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