The Psychic Housewives' Handbook is billed as an outrageous, comical, and practical personal trainer for those experiencing the initial pangs of "paranormal" living. I found it fairly offensive, un-funny, and only moderately useful in terms of practicality. 

There are good points. Roe believes that we are all psychic and does a pretty good job of demystifying the psychic realm. Along with information about how to detect energies, ground, remove unwanted energy, facilitate, engage and channel various types of energy she also gives real-world tips and examples on the importance of radical self-care, setting boundaries, heeding gut instinct, asking for support, indulging in fun, and testing the spirits. At the end of every chapter, Roe also provides a "Psychic Laundry List" of exercises for experimentation and journaling, noting that the psychic life requires "doing" in order to expand awareness, hone skills and promote the effortless flow of intuitive information. I thought the section on what to do if there are ghosts in your house was well done. Ms. Roe lays out what to do and why. She makes sense and gives some nice, grounded advice.

The book is written for ‘the ordinary housewife’ – and I feel bad for men, who apparently aren’t included in either category. This paragon is apparently overwhelmed (aren’t we all?) and won’t let herself be psychic, because she “…want[s] guarantees about outcome. They want the journey to be a neat, acceptable package with a lovely bow on top.” I’m not sure any sane person with a child expects anything to be neat and tidy.

Much more annoying are the constant exhortations to "embrace the psychic life, you will find that everything is amazing!” That is a tall order, and smacks of late night infomercial sales pitches.

"This journey is not about always feeling good or comfortable. You can feel really, really awful while doing some really, really good things. Most of us haven't been trained in self-care; we've been trained in guilt. It's much easier to go beating yourself up than to praise yourself for doing something that society deems wrong. But if your heart is guiding you forward, it's probably an essential part of your steppingstone to divine. Feel embarrassed? Get used to it. Feel afraid? You're right on track. Feeling horribly uncomfortable? Sounds like you're exactly where you are supposed to be." (page 128).

Yes, the more extreme manifestations of a psychic life can be crazy-making and confusing. But if they are actually making you crazy, you are out of alignment on a whole lot of levels, not that you are doing it ‘right.’

I don’t often say this, but the writing itself is sloppy. It reads like a draft rather than a polished piece. Capturing an author’s voice at the cost of coherence is not a good editorial decision. An example is the section on dealing with "dark energy." In this section, the author gives a long, confusing list of ideas for dealing with dark energy but no why. This is made worse by the overall lack of definition of her commonly-used terms. She uses terms like "spirit guides" and "your team" and so forth abundantly right from the start, but she never sufficiently explains what she means by those terms. (She describes her own guides as a bunch of guys smoking pipes, and the one sitting in the passenger seat of her SUV was an elf with pointed shoes. This isn’t very helpful for a newcomer, i.e., her reader.)

As an example of the "spontaneous" style that makes the book feel very much like a bad draft, I’ll offer this:

"Ask the fairies to make their presence in your life known to you, and tell them you are willing to be surprised. This is about truly releasing thought forms (the way the ego thinks things should be) and outcomes. The fairies are master teachers at this. If things disappear for a while, 'tis a sure sign the fairies were here. If magic sparkles turn a situation completely around, 'tis the work of the winged ones. That's why they like dryers so much. Dryers turn things around! So do fairies! (They just told me that.) Also, if a fairy charm, bracelet, pillow, or picture comes into your realm, buy it. You're on fairy orders to indulge yourself. Fairies themselves don't spend money, but they sure can help you get it and spend it. Only in their world, it's more fun to buy it on credit first! Then when you get the money to back it up, you get extra credit because you took it on fairy faith! (They just told me that, too.)"

I think this was meant to be reassuring, but instead it makes me worried. Do I want to trust a woman who hears the fairies telling her they like dryers and to buy anything fairy-related that comes into her life on credit?

Not recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry


Author: Lorraine Roe

Hampton Roads, 2009

pp. 160; $16.95