As someone who has always read books as a means to escape reality, it’s extremely rare for me to pick up a non-fiction book or memoir and enjoy it as much as I would fiction. You know the story: “Leave reality behind!” and “Open a book and escape into an entirely new world!” yada yada yada. That is, until my good friend Sara bought me a copy of Land of Enchantment and encouraged me to read it as soon as physically possible. And that’s exactly what I did.
Land of Enchantment is a story of love and heartbreak, and how to pick yourself up and find yourself in between. The way Stein writes makes it seem as if she’s physically sitting right beside you, personally recounting her story of how she inevitably found herself within a loss. I couldn’t put this book down and towards the end I was awake at 3 am in tears, having my boyfriend once again question my sanity. Stein reaches out and touches your soul, and truly solidifies the fact that everything happens for a reason, even if it’s completely unclear to you exactly what that reason might be.
Stein’s story recounts the time she met a man and after a few months of dating, they decided to move to New Mexico together. Her, to write a novel, and him, to search for a new adventure. Land of Enchantment is an account of loving someone so fucking much, regardless of knowing how toxic the relationship is. It broke my heart because I know I’ve been there, and pretty much everyone can relate to it in some way or another. Stein writes about feeling lost in your mid-twenties and the trials and tribulations of trying to figure out exactly who you are. It’s a book that so many people of all ages can identify with and I cannot recommend it enough.
I’d like to give a little background information on the author. She’s from the same town as me (whaddup girl, represent!) and created an all-female conference for women and gender non-conforming writers, called BinderCon. It’s a semi-annual professional development conference created by her non-profit, Out of the Binders. She holds the conferences in New York City and Los Angeles each year and I’M GOING TO THE NYC CONFERENCE IN OCTOBER AHHHH. Out of the Binders is “devoted to advancing the careers of fellow women and gender non-conforming writers by connecting them with the skills, knowledge, and networking opportunities they need to get ahead as authors, journalists, screenwriters, TV writers, playwrights, poets, and more” (bindercon.com). As someone who has dreamt about becoming a writer since I was in my mother’s womb, this is a fucking dream to me. I have goosebumps writing about it right now. If any of my fellow aspiring writers would like to join me, you can buy tickets here. And you best believe I’m bringing Land of Enchantment and begging Leigh Stein for an autograph. Based on her life story and what she’s accomplished, she is what all little girls should aspire to be.
Back to the book. If any of you have ever been in a toxic relationship yet were so engrossed with each other you forced yourself to stay, read this book. If any of you have ever felt lost, depressed, and as if you were going to be holding odd-end jobs for the rest of your life, read this book. If any of you have ever experienced any kind of heart-shattering loss, read this book. And if any of you are trying your hardest to find yourself in a world that makes it increasingly more difficult, read this fucking book. Just read it. It’s a breath of fresh air.
To buy Land of Enchantment, click here.
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