Review: Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One – Raphaelle Giordano

I hadn’t heard much about Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano before receiving a copy to review, and while the synopsis sounded really promising, the book unfortunately fell short for me.

Synopsis: At thirty-eight and a quarter years old, Paris native Camille has everything she needs to be happy: a good job, a loving husband, a wonderful son. Why then does she feel as if happiness has slipped through her fingers? All she wants is to find the path to joy and fulfilment. 
When Claude, a Sean Connery look-alike and routinologist, offers his unique advice to help get her there, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. 
Camille’s journey is full of surprising escapades and richly meaningful lessons, as she sets out to transform her life and realize her dreams one step at a time…

The main issue with this book, for me, is that I constantly felt as if I was being TOLD what was happening, rather than shown through the interaction of characters and dialogue. There were relationships mended during the course of the book that we never actually saw in the first place really (aside from Camille’s inner dialogue telling us “Oh this person doesn’t like me”), and while I didn’t mind the plot of the story, it felt almost like someone had read the book and was then telling me what happened in the book, because there was such minimal dialogue or scenes where people properly interact for longer than a page before Camille’s inner voice sets in again telling us how the rest of the conversation/interaction/day went.

As a result, I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters in this book, and therefore I didn’t really care what happened. At 240-odd pages, the book was a short read and I feel definitely had room to flesh out some of the scenes between Camille and her husband, son, or disdainful colleague a bit more to let us really see how these relationships changed as she began to change her life.

Giordano herself has a background in psychology, which really shows in this book. I’ve no doubt that the advice given to Camille by Claude is genuinely fantastic advice, and honestly while reading the book I did catch myself thinking “That’s advice I could stand to take myself some days” – and this is the part of the book that I did enjoy. I only wish that the book read more like a fiction novel, or advertised itself as a self-help novel with a twist instead 🙂

Rating: Honestly this one was not really my cup of tea. If you’re more in to self-help books and not looking for too much story around it, sure pick this one up.


Have you read Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts as I know other people really enjoyed it!

M xx

Buy it here or here (AU/NZ only).

Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

7 thoughts on “Review: Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One – Raphaelle Giordano

  1. I agree. I would recommend this book only to people who enjoy “self-help books” and understood it to be disguised as a not-so-good novel. The steps for improving one life actually helped me for two days to “just do it!” but didn’t get me (despite the routinologist’s wonderful suggestions) to continue the routine of “just doing it.”

    More helpful was the suggestion by another writer to time oneself and discover how many things one can get done in 2 or 20 minutes.

    As a grammarian, when I read the title “….You only have one life,” I found myself thinking, I have more than only one life–I have a house, a car, friends, and a library card. (I do obsess over the misplacement of the word “only,” especially before a verb, but it is true, “I have only one life.” Being a grammarian has its drawbacks.



  2. Oops, I forgot the ) after life.” Being a grammarian does have its drawbacks. In my defense, I read your Ninja Book Challenge between writing and publishing my comment!


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