What is the difference, real or imagined, between a diary and a journal?
Both names imply daily attention, but a "diary" is usually thought of as an
every day chore to be undertaken with or without inspiration. A "journal"
is somewhat more likely to be considered a whenever sort of thing,
observations that may intrude on one's consciousness sufficient to be
written down in a lackadaisical fashion, or contrariwise, essential points
to remember about a specific subject, such as a sea voyage or a search for a
new kind of mushroom.
With The 5 Year Journal, we are offered yet another alternative for
personal assessment, one that could catch on. In Doreene Clement's book,
the owner is invited to write just a few lines about something each day,
with the opportunity to compare one's jottings for the succeeding four years.
It's an interesting concept. This reviewer is a diarist of many year's
efforts. At times one wants to reread one's life and compare last Christmas
to this one, last lover to the new one, etc. With Clement's journal format,
this could become an easier job. The obvious downside is that with just three
lines per date per year, one is forced to encapsulate, which can lead to
more sound than sense in one's words.
The Journal is spiced with quotations meant, I'm sure, to be thought-provoking, and with features such as "quarterly questions" -- what is my
favorite book, dream, etc. Perhaps a little puerile, but it's likely to be a
somewhat jejune enthusiasm which would take on the whole proposition of a five
Year journal (this reviewer feels too old!). A young person embarking on
life and of an introspective turn of mind is most likely to embrace
Clement's "new millennium" notion. An inexperienced diarist, wanting to
give it a try but never having set one's mind a-sailing in the medium of a
small book, might find this big book with it's plethora of instructions
The 5 Year Journal is a harmless and eminently gift-able item. It looks
and feels solid and hopeful. Recommended for 20 something female relatives
on a birthday.