Katherine Center: The Lost Husband (and What You Know Now)



Last week my good friend Katherine Center celebrated the launch of her new book, The Lost Husband, with a party here in Houston. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Lost Husband and I’ve already read it twice. Yes. Twice.

It’s one of those stories that you never want to leave. By the time it was over I was committed to moving to a goat farm in the Texas Hill Country. Or, at the very least, finding a therapist who wears overalls and makes goat cheese. Here’s a teaser from the book jacket:

Dear Libby, It occurs to me that you and your two children have been living with your mother for—Dear Lord!—two whole years, and I’m writing to see if you’d like to be rescued. 

The letter comes out of the blue, and just in time for Libby Moran, who—after the sudden death of her husband, Danny—went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape: a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road.

Life on Aunt Jean’s goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet—deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny “on the other side,” and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she’s been looking for.

And despite everything she’s lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she’s found. She hasn’t just traded one kind of crazy for another: She may actually have found the place to bring her little family—and herself—back to life.”

Read it! You’ll be swept away.

What You Know Now

At Katherine’s book launch, she read her essay, “What You Know Now” (from the book Prime).  I think you’ll enjoy it! If you receive blog updates via email and you want to watch the video, click here. 


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  1. Pingback: On Bravery | From zero to CPA

  2. Hi, Brene. I wrote you an email the other day because I wasn’t sure how this blog operated. I guess it was the safest thing for me to do. However…I hope this is the appropriate place to post my comments. I’ve taken a pause in reading "The Gifts of Imperfection" at the section where you talk about your recovery process and recovery in general.

    Bare with me, okay? The major aspect of myself that I learned to hide was the fact that I was gay, a sissy, a queer. My escape was riding my bike as often as I could accompanied by day dreaming. I have no idea how I go through 8th grade, high school graduation, and two Master’s degrees. But, hiding I did, with loads of self-recrimination. I was raised Catholic. Perhaps one of the best institutional promoters of guilt besides Judaism. In college I was introduced to liquor. Oh my! What a quencher it was, and a disinhibitor extraordinaire. After drinking alcoholically for about 10-12 years, I "hit bottom" and received life-saving help, let alone saving me from going to jail.

    Recovery? Well, I used alcohol to hide and numb my feelings! So well that when I sat in an AA meeting, I remember distinctly saying I was struggling with getting back into my @%**& body! The one activity I had been continually doing for myself was pumping iron, going to the gym "religiously". So, when I became aware (key element here) of struggling to reclaim my life and my body, I delved into bodywork, energy work, hypnosis, besides some extremely intensive psychotherapy (institutional for 4 months, then another 4 months). And, I was introduced to "groups". Yikes! "Groups!" And, I had no choice but to comply and tell my story!

    Here are the things I’ve learned so far, Brene, and having read some of your story and most of your book, I know you will appreciate this. a) There are very few of us, it seems, who ever have had the opportunity, or taken it, to tell our story to a trusted or even not so trusted individual(s). The power of telling my story was phenomenally healing. b) Using my imagination from childhood into adulthood, and even intuitively having written a thesis on ‘imagination’ proved to me to be fundamental to my sobriety. If I can see myself, visualize myself sober, I will most probably become sober. If not, it will never happen. The question was: Can I live and be myself without liquor? c) Living authentically meant to be honest with myself, to face my fears, to embrace my "dark sides" lovingly and accept all of me, not just the me that I often present to my world. Today, I love myself. No, not perfect, but I don’t care about perfection. I coach men now who are going through transitions in their lives, gay, straight, bi, trans men, and I feel more aligned with who I am and what I do than ever before. The greatest compliment that my clients can offer to me is, when they say, "I trust you." Wow, that even brings some tears to my eyes. Tears of gratitude.

    Any how, thank you for writing your book! Thank you for confirming so much of my own personal experience to date.

  3. This was absolutely beautiful. Brene, thank you for sharing Katherine with us and Katherine BRAVO! You have a wonderful strong gentle voice. Thank you both for your gifts to the world.


  4. Eric

    Brene: your ted talk brought tears to my eyes and smiles to my face. It changed my life.

    I host a radio show and it would be an absolute honor to speak with you for 10 or 15 minutes about vulnerability.

    Interested? I think your message could change the lives of many of my listeners!

  5. Jayne

    I just had to share with you that I’m almost done with your book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and I am LOVING it! My husband and I have been sharing it and planned to pass it on-but now I want to keep it as a resource! Guess we’ll just send copies to our friends:) Anyhow, it’s just wonderful and you have such a gift! Thank you!!

  6. Shani

    Lovely to hear that!

    I also wanted to post this link… 1:30 min that says so mush about fear… and inspires bravery!
    (I’ve never heard of this man before, Sadhguru… a wise soul!)

    No Fear in the Now


  7. L Sanders

    Sounds perfect! Ill start as soon as I finish the second half of Daring Greatly.

    P.S. Have you watched The Breakfast Club lately? A whole movie about shame and vulnerability. My favorite part…when one character is telling the other the bad bad thing her parents do to her….the ignore her. Made me think about the need to be connected and how being ignored WOULD be really bad.

    Love your books. Makes me think I should have listened to my professors who encoraged me to keep going after my masters. All that data kinda makes me drool. 🙂

    • Trish Perkins

      Brene, where are you? I keep coming back here to see what you’re up to, and you are still not posting. Has life hijacked you? I’ve read all three books, had a two week self-directed workshop on your ideas with my husband and best friend. You’ve opened doors closed for decades. Come back!

  8. jennifer

    Maybe you already read it, but you might have saved lots of research time if you had read the book, "The Search for Significance". This is all about vulnerability, connecting with others, understanding and loving your true self. Just an FYI.

  9. Jennifer Giuffre-Donohue

    I just want to say that your books have touched me profoundly. I first learned about you on the Oprah interview & since then have read two of your books. The Oprah interview came at a time when I felt like I was going through a crisis of faith (still kind of am) and your books have been just the remedy I needed. Can’t wait to read more & thank you for the incredible work that you do!

  10. Mandy Ford

    Ahh this is SO lovely! I don’t have daughters (two sons instead) but so much of what she said resonated with me and took me back to when I was younger, trying to figure out who "me" is/was. Actually, at almost 35 I just now, in the past few months, am figuring it out and it feels fantastic. I love her quote about fashion being what you do until you figure out your style. SO true!