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Review: The Golden Coin

Down at the Golden Coin by Kim Strickland (Eckhartz Press, 2012) 

Review by Serena Wadhwa

Kim Strickland’s Down at the Golden Coin is billed as an inspirational story, the kind of book to which I, as a clinical therapist, am naturally drawn.

The story revolves around former airline pilot Annie Mullard, who feels as if her life is spinning out of control. Forty-something, married with three kids, Annie thinks her life has sunk to a new low when her washing machine breaks down and she finds herself in a run-down Chicago Laundromat, The Golden Coin. It is there that she meets a most unlikely Messiah, a blue-haired woman, half her age, who claims to have all the answers.

Strickland’s second novel, following her 2007 debut Wish Club , sparks with descriptive and eloquent exchanges between these two very different women whose paths have crossed in this most unlikely place. 

Annie telling this Messiah how her life has crashed: “All I want, all I ever wanted, is a little happiness. A little security. I worked so hard to get somewhere in this life and now I’m watching everything, all of it, slip right out from under me and there’s not one thing I can do about it.” I pause, wave my hand around the inside of the Golden Coin again. “This was not supposed to be my life!” 

Isn’t that what we all want – a little happiness?  Most self-help books claim to have all the answers to achieve some sense of happiness. They provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to reach that goal. But this is a rare book in that it provides a glimpse into the process of how we can change our lives. 

The Messiah reminds Annie, “ You haven’t even spent a nickel and you’re already starting to worry you don’t have enough.” 

And this is an eye-opening observation for Annie. “Holy shit, I think. She’s right. I stop my pacing and  stare at her. I just had all this money fall into my lap and I made myself start thinking it’s not enough, when a few minutes ago it was all the money in the world. The amount of money hadn’t changed, only what I’d felt about it had.” 

Strickland beautifully weaves a story that shows the ability we have to change our lives and ultimately find that elusive happiness. 

Strickland beautifully weaves a story that shows the ability we have to change our lives and ultimately find that elusive happiness. She brings together powerful words and concepts of self-responsibility, passion, faith in oneself and universal experiences to demonstrate how we can write our own happy ending.

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