Book Reviews / Books

Stronger by Poorna Bell Book Review

05.03.21
Stronger by Poorna Bell

Ever since reading Chase the Rainbow back in 2018, I’ve adored Poorna’s writing. A heartbreaking tale about her late husband’s suicie, I loved it so much that I went on to read a very large, bound proof copy of her second memoir, In Search of Silence while holidaying with my sister on Lake Atitlan in April 2019, despite my somewhat limited luggage space. An important voice in the mental health arena, Poorna has more recently been making waves in the weight-lifting world, and so when I saw she had a new book out that explores both her own and society’s relationship between mental and physical strength, I begged her publicist to send me a copy in Australia, and soon after found myself nose deep between the pages.

Stronger Book Review

An insightful and inspiring read that blends memoir with social commentary and statistics around strength, Stronger is both an account of Poorna’s own journey to becoming physically and mentally stronger in the wake of her late husband’s suicide, and an astute study into women’s strength and society’s perception – and understanding – of it.

A book that is empowering, inclusive and incredibly accessible, Stronger is about women’s relationships with strength, mental health and movement, and it’s written with Poorna’s signature honest and authentic style. Exploring everything from privilege to personal experience, to the practical side of how women can get physical fit, Stronger weaves science with intimate anecdotes to deliver an important book that anyone with an interest in health – be it mental or physical – should read.  

I loved Poorna’s raw honesty throughout the book – which tackled everything from suicide to singledom – and the extensive research she carried out to write the book is evident. A thought-provoking book that will no doubt impact its readers to think twice about their own view of, and relationship with strength, Stronger encourages its readers to not only find their inner strength but to also pursue a journey towards body positivity.

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Stronger by Poorna Bell Summary

If you are the girl, the woman who feels like she is never enough, that she will never be as strong, as good, as capable, I am here to tell you that you are enough. I am here to tell you that while it shouldn’t have been your burden, you can write a different story.

Stronger will change what you think you know about strength and, most importantly, empower you to go on your own journey to discover what strength looks like for you.

Now a competitive amateur powerlifter who can lift over twice her own bodyweight, Poorna Bell is perfectly placed to start a crucial conversation about women’s strength and fitness, one that has nothing to do with weight loss. In Stronger she challenges the notions taught to us as girls, and examines how all of us can tap into our reservoir of inner strength to make us our strongest selves mentally and physically. Describing taking up weightlifting after the death of her husband, she shows how discovering her own strength helped her to find the confidence that physical pursuits can amplify – the confidence that has been helping men to succeed for centuries – and that women can find too.

In these pages, Poorna tells not only her own story but those of a range of women, investigating intersections of race, age and social background. Part memoir, part manifesto, Stronger explodes old-fashioned notions and long-held beliefs about getting strong and explores the relationship between mental and physical strength.

Whether you’re into weightlifting, running, swimming, yoga or don’t consider yourself to be sporty at all, Poorna shows how finding strength can work for you, regardless of age, ability or background.

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Pre-order Stronger from Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.

Further reading

I loved this article on Stylist about how weight training helped Poorna find inner strength after her husband’s suicide.

Poorna Bell Author Bio

Poorna is an award-winning freelance journalist of fifteen years and a digital editorial expert, having previously worked as UK Executive Editor and Global Lifestyle Head for HuffPost. She freelances for The Times, The i Paper, Grazia, The Guardian, Red magazine, and Stylist among others. She is the author of Stronger. Poorna is an experienced public speaker across ministerial health summits, corporate and consumer events, including Twitter, Ad Week, NHS and Oath. She’s also spoken on Channel 5, ITV and BBC News, as well as regularly on TalkRadio and BBC 5 Live.

More Poorna Bell Books

Poorna Bell has also written Chase The Rainbow and In Search of Silence.

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