The first time I heard about this book was at BookExpo America. I'm pretty sure that Ms. McHugh came to my table during BEA Bloggers. Several authors came around to our tables during breakfast and lunch. I'm 99% sure I met her, and I'm mad at myself for not giving the book more thought then. I was a little mad that other authors didn't come to the table. My thinking at the time was, one good deed a day? What's so interesting about that? After reading the book, I know it is a very interesting and worthwhile endeavor.
To recapture a sense of charity, Ms McHugh decided to do one good deed everyday for a year. Sound tough? For some it could be. The author had some struggles accomplishing the project but overall she seemed to be a better person for it. She didn't have to save villages from floods or jump into burning buildings, she did small things.
Her journey is told with a mixture of humor and seriousness. One of my favorites has to be when Ms. McHugh decided not to go into work sick. You might think what's so good about that? Over the years, I have worked with several people who came into work sick. They proceeded to cough and sneeze on everything. And then they expect me to pick up a piece of paper contaminated with their germs. Why do people feel the need to come into work sick? You don't have to be a martyr, STAY HOME!! Keeping her germs away from her co-workers was a very GOOD DEED!
I have problems sharing, especially with food and my books. Very rarely do I lend out my books, I would rather buy you a copy than lend it. Hey, that's a good deed right. I'm buying you book, that should qualify? Ok, back to One Good Deed. I mentioned food, because Ms. McHugh did something I would have a hard time with. She shared a rather scrumptious eclair with a total stranger. More power to you, I would have let everyone admire it while I inhaled the sugary goodness.
There a lot of gems in this book. "Spew hate at your own risk." While on line for food, Ms. McHugh overheard a rather loud cellphone conversation. The man on the phone used a gay slur, and it wasn't something she could stand for. She told him how ignorant his comments were. He seemed a little stunned and could only mumble an apology. I overhear a lot of offensive stuff. Most of the time I stand there and stew. I figure that it's none of my business. You never know what type of person you're dealing with, but I can understand her frustration.
The best lesson from this book?
"Pass it on. Sometimes a good deed is just passing something along. Someone sent this to my friend Peter today. He e-mailed it on to me, and now, from me to you: Do something for yourself today. Today, speak as kindly to yourself as you do to others. Allow someone else to help you the way you help other people. Give yourself the same permission to make mistakes that you give to others. Do this for yourself today. You deserve it. -- Of course, I would add to that, buy yourself some ice cream. But that's just me." Pg. 297
First, I have some Peppermint bark ice cream in the freezer, and I intend to eat it when I'm finished writing this review. Second, I think this little nugget is the best piece of advice in the whole book. We would all be much better people if we followed that passage. Maybe it's hard to be altruistic everyday, but every once in awhile give yourself a break, treat others as you want to be treated, and allow yourself to slip.
Rating: O.M.G. !!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (ABRAMS) in exchange for an honest review.