Why you should read the book?
Iris Tan, 36, owns her own marketing/advertising firm. In her early 30s, she found her life calling of helping others lead a meaningful life and follow their passion. Since then, she has attended many workshops on self-improvement and coaching. Aside from this, many other institutions have benefitted from her counselling services and through the workshops that she conducted.
Not many have the courage to continue questioning their lives to see whether they are on track to meet their life’s goals. It is inspiring and encouraging to see Iris find a new direction in life and pursue it with fervour. Her calling of wanting to help others pursue their dreams is remarkable and noble in nature. Sometimes, a big event in your life will trigger a change in your goals/lifestyle. Ultimately, one needs to question one’s life meaning and seek the answers on your own. Her behaviour and actions are consistent with her life’s values and this is something that others can learn from.
The poems cover many of life’s important areas and through them; Iris subtly gives advice on how one’s life should be led. The poems may be vague in nature but that leaves the reader some room for interpretation. Some of her experiences are also covered in the book, most notably her travel journeys to Tuscany and Venice. Iris also gives a very honest and unpretentious account of how she views life in general.
Who is this book meant for?
This book can be appreciated by any age group and is suitable for children to read. It is useful as a reminder of what matters in life and can spur some degree of self-reflection in the reader. It was also meant as a dedication to her loved ones and how appreciative she is over her life. Readers from all walks of age will be able to enjoy this book of poems.
What is the book like?
This book is a collection of short poems (few stanzas long) across the 7 key topics of Travel; Spirituality; Hope; Encouragement; Nature; Love; Moment. It is written in a simple form, with minimal use of complex adjectives or vocabulary. Being easily comprehensible, the book can appeal to the general public.
The illustrations are also highly impressive and complement the poems perfectly. They are drawn in black felt pen. Some of them are also dreamy and imaginative in nature. This fits seamlessly with the settings depicted in the poems. Many of the illustrations are aesthetically attractive and will appeal to children.
Iris attempts to use both repetition of words and rhythmic themes to construct the poems. For instance from the following passage ‘There are many angels by my side. Whenever my troubles are in sight, they will send me beautiful light….If only you can join their flight, your life journey will be a glittering jolly ride.’ – Iris Tan. It is clear that last words of each stanza rhyme with one another.
Repetition of the word ‘Hope’ can be witnessed in the following passage: ‘Hope, Hope and Hope, dance around with Hope. When you are down with despair, only hope can bounce you back. Whether you are sick or poor, only Hope can give you the strength to live….’ Iris Tan.
What can I learn from the book?
There is a great emphasis on the importance of touching others’ lives and the link between that and leading a meaningful life. This is also consistent with many self-help books on the need to live beyond oneself and to give back to others. Another core theme is to live and be mindful of your present settings. Be fully aware of the present and allow the thoughts to flow through it, without judging them.
The book explores the theme of spirituality and how filling your heart with warmth and compassion can aid your progress as an individual. Belief in a higher being might give you the required strength to push on when the times get tough.
In a hectic city like Singapore, Iris laments on the fast paced nature of life and the fact that people overlook compassion and happiness because of the nature of how things are. She encourages others to slow down in order to appreciate the finer beauties of their surroundings.
Hope is what keeps your dreams alive. It is important to dream and follow your heart. Be honest in your dealings with people and in your writing. Learning to encourage oneself is also of paramount importance. The theme of love, togetherness and gratitude is ever present throughout the book. Readers can note the value of close friendships and the joy it can bring.
What is this book similar to?
Some of the lessons that can be drawn from this book are similar to ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. The style of illustrations and the dispensing of nuggets of wisdom also closely model Jimmy Liao’s set of picture books (Taiwanese picture book writer and illustrator). However, his picture books are usually darker, where the characters often suffer from loneliness.