The 5 Year Journal
Doreene Clement
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The 5 Year Journal

Doreene Clement
DKC Enterprises, Ltd.
272 pages
September 1999
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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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 comforting.

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.

© 2003 by Barbara Bamberger Scott for Curled Up With a Good Book

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