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Navigating Life



An inspiring, piercingly honest user’s guide to life, written for the author’s daughter and given to her on her first day of college, reflecting tough lessons about family, work, and marriage.

You learn a few useful things at school–the three Rs come in handy, and it’s good to know how to perform under pressure and wait your turn–but most of what matters, what makes you into a functioning human being, able to hold your own in conversation, find your path, know what to avoid in relationships and secure a meaningful job, no teacher will ever tell you. This diamond-sharp, gut-punchingly honest book of hard-earned wisdom is one mother’s effort to equip her daughter for survival in the real world.

Margaux Bergen began writing this book when her daughter Charlotte turned nine and gave it to her right after graduation from high school, when she was setting off for her first day of college. “I am not writing this to groom or guide you to professional or academic success,” she writes. “My goal is rather to give you tools that might help you engage with the world and flourish. . . . Think of this as a kind of developing bath-time wisdom.”

Wise, heartbreakingly funny, and resonantly true, Navigating Life has invaluable lessons for students of life of all ages. It will challenge you to lead a more meaningful life and to tackle the bumps along the way with grace, grit, style, and ingenuity. What The Blessings of a Skinned Knee did for the early years of parenting, Navigating Life does for the next, far more perilous chapter, when new graduates are cast out on the high seas and have to learn to swim and find their way by themselves.

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Praise

“Bergen offers readers not a strict how-to but an invitation. Come with me, she seems to say, and together we can figure out how to do this thing called life.” —Shelf Awareness

“Bergen’s ballsy, elegantly burnished guide tackles bedrock issues such as friendship, sexuality, and paying the bills.”— Elle Magazine

“With charming candor and insight, Bergen addresses her college-bound daughter on subjects such as love, friendship, education and work… She discusses career moves and handling prickly employers and sudden terminations with grace before meaningfully recounting her experience with depression and the death of her alcoholic father. Her comments on divorce are wise and sensitive…She is at her most poignant when describing the fluctuations of intimacy and parental control with a child on the verge of adulthood… well told and piercing in its honesty.”—Publishers Weekly

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Excerpt

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