Searching For The Shire by Florence St. John takes us on a journey of self-discovery through one woman’s life. Florence had always felt tolerated, rather than unconditionally loved, as a child and she spent her adult years seeking acceptance and yes, love, through a series of relationships and/or marriages that, it seemed were almost convenient, rather than for all the right reasons. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, at a time when women were stretching their arms and seeking more from the world, Florence decided to take the route of least resistance, that of marriage and motherhood. This would lead her eventually to the realisation that she was co-dependant and always needed other’s approval for her own happiness. In time, she will discover that it is okay to say “No” and it is okay to worry about your own personal mental health, than to always focus on “fixing up” others.
As someone who has lived a co-dependent relationship, in the past, I found Searching For The Shire to be a clarion call to my psyche. Reading Florence St. John’s words and deeds, I experienced many “Aha” moments as I was able to relate to her “need to be needed”. I suspect this issue is felt more intensely by women, but as a man, who has experienced these issues, I was very easily able to relate to her thought processes and decision making. At the end of the day, this book can give real hope and a path out of co-dependency for anyone suffering from this. The book is simply a summation of St. John’s life that led her to the point of needing to find an answer to her continual problems. My biggest takes from this story were 1/ It’s okay to be alone and 2/ How can you expect anyone else to love you unconditionally, when you don’t even love yourself? I think this book would prove very useful for those suffering from co-dependency or feelings of inadequacy.