‘There Will Be Lobster’ Examines One Woman’s Battle with Depression and Anxiety [REVIEW]

Lobster
Even when your world is turned upside down, there are things to look forward to… including lobster. (Photo courtesy Canva)

We hate to admit it, but we are right there in the zone when so many of our friends are going through a midlife crisis for various reasons. Spouses flip their wigs and ask for divorces after decades of marriage. Others are devastated when they suddenly lose their mates in death. Parents watch their kids leave the nest and don’t know what to do with themselves. And so many lose their jobs due to downsizing, the pandemic, or something else. The list goes on and on, and it can all become a bit much. Few people really like change, and when it comes at you with both barrels, it can be near impossible to deal with. Enter Sara Arnell, a successful businesswoman who was at the top of her game before she faced similar struggles. Now in her memoir, There Will Be Lobster, she shares a message of hope and survival, and how she managed to get her life back on track after being derailed in a spectacular fashion.

Sara Arnell's THERE WILL BE LOBSTER
Savio Republic

Arnell spent her 30-year career in fashion, writing, and marketing, working with folks like Andre Leon Talley and Donna Karan, and at one of New York’s best-known advertising agencies. Her chutzpah catapulted her into the stratosphere where she mingled with Gotham’s elite and eventually became CEO, earning both recognition and accolades along the way.

As her story proves, fame and success do not always equate with happiness. Soon Arnell became a modern-day Job, a woman who watched everything she loved slip beyond her grasp, including her marriage, her children, and even her health. As a result, she battled both depression and anxiety, and began to self medicate in an effort to gain control.

In There Will Be Lobster she shares personal anecdotes and stories and sheds light on how she finally managed to find hope through some rather unorthodox sources and began to heal once again.

I’ve read a lot of memoirs over the years, and I always seem to be drawn to survivor stories. I like watching the arc of a person’s life, seeing how people deal with adversity and learn to soar despite it. Arnell’s saga is one of success, trauma, and self acceptance. On the surface, she writes a good tale, and shows us how she ultimately grew from her experience.

However, she doesn’t really delve too deeply into her own angst, and thus her catharsis doesn’t seem like that much of an accomplishment. It deals mostly with episodes of bad behavior, how she embarrassed herself and her children, and how she avoided being the grown up in the parent-child dynamic. In one chapter, she tries to make a concerted effort to give her family a better holiday than the year before, especially since she made a fool of herself with her son’s college buddies the previous Thanksgiving. But it never feels like she truly works to understand the reasons behind her behavior, and thus this memoir fails to feel like a survivor tale and more like a story of acceptance. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but I just feel like this book could have been so much more transformative and inspiring if she could have pulled back the curtain a bit more and taken more risks with her writing.

Another point of contention here is that Arnell is rather disparaging when it comes to seeking therapy from a licensed professional, a fact which got stuck in my craw. While I don’t want to judge Arnell’s life choices, I do wish she hadn’t made it seem like a weakness to get psychological help. Perhaps if she had, the book would be more candid and interesting. I’m not saying that she needs to throw anyone under the bus or make this a tell-all, dropping names right and left. But if this book is truly going to offer the help, hope, and insight that she wants to extend, we need more of a glimpse into her heart and mind so we can commiserate on a deeper level with her as a woman.

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Sara Arnell
Sara Arnell
(Photo by Rafe Masters)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Arnell is a global branding and marketing executive and former advertising CEO.

She is a professor at The New School’s Parsons School of Design and continues to consult with the world’s top brands on marketing strategy and brand design. She regularly advises start-ups and entrepreneurs and has served on several boards for educational institutions.

Sara has a BA from Skidmore College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the mother of three children and one small poodle.

For more information, visit the author online at SaraArnell.com, like her on Facebook, subscribe to her on YouTube, and follow her on Instagram and Goodreads.

THERE WILL BE LOBSTER: MEMOIR OF A MIDLIFE CRISIS
By Sara Arnell
176 pp. Savio Republic. $27.

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

Purchase There Will Be Lobster direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Simon & Schuster, Target, or Walmart.

There Will Be Lobster is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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