‘Midlife Emergence: Free Your Inner Fire’: A Review

A cut above other memoirs of self-discovery, Jen Berlingo’s journey makes a world of possibility visible

Julie Borden
3 min readApr 14


Cover courtesy of Reedsy Discovery. Image created by reviewer in Canva.

Disclaimer: Please note I received a free ARC of this book from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for my honest review.

Just before I began reading this book, I remember having a nagging fear that it would be “just another self-help book.” Since I’m not a big fan of that genre, I hoped I would be able to give it a fair review. If I read it and really thought everything in it had been said before, would I be unnecessarily harsh?

I was barely a few pages in when that concern evaporated into thin air. This book was clearly going to be intriguing at the very least. Several more pages in I was highlighting passages and reflecting on the themes in my own life.

This book has heart. As much as it centers on romantic love, it portrays what it means to be fully alive in all areas. This is first made clear when the author relates an anecdote about seeing herself through the eyes of her young daughter. During a tickle fight, her six-year-old said, “Mom, let your laugh out! You always seem like you’re holding back your true laugh.” This comes as a revelation and then makes perfect sense as she reflects on her lifelong tendency to brace and silence her true self.

One aspect of the book that really impressed me was the author’s ability to address topics about which one might be skeptical with an intelligence that convincingly cracks into the shell of skepticism. For example, the environment I live in has led me to generally eschew things like energy healing and astrology.

I have wavered a little in the past, finding the chakra system fascinating. Berlinger furthered that fascination in her discussion of chakras.

A month ago I would have insisted that I put no stock in astrology. I’m still not a true convert, but this book taught me some fascinating concepts that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. It was eerie to learn that forty-two is a pivotal age in astrology. Spot on for me. And if the next “potent astrological transit” is age fifty-nine, well, that’s a few years away and I suspect I might be gearing up for it now.

And as for energy healing, I recently burned some bay leaves, something I had never thought of doing before.

Berlinger’s writing is eloquent and captivating. In addition to sharing her own story and its full range of both painful and transcendent moments, she includes exercises at the end of each chapter, various creative ways to access that deeper self that might be longing to be revealed in each of us.

I highly recommend this book to women in their mid-thirties and any age beyond that. We might not all have a journey as intense and life changing as the author’s, but this kind of deep self-reflection is bound to bring a new authenticity and self-awareness that will enrich anyone’s inner life and relationships.

I would like to thank Jen Berlingo and Bold Story Press for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.



Julie Borden

Social worker, therapist, reader, writer, head-in-the-clouds dreamer, awed by most everything. (She/her) Reach me at JulieBordenLCSW@gmail.com.