Book Review & Giveaway: Square Up by Lisa Dailey

Square Up by Lisa Dailey

Square Up: 50,000 miles in search of a way home by Lisa Dailey
Publisher:  Sidekick Press, (March 30, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Travel, Family Travel, Adventure Travel, Grief
ISBN: 978-1734494556
Available in Print and ebook, 272 pages

Square Up


Have you ever wished you could run away and leave your life behind? Born on the “Day of the Wanderer,” Lisa Dailey has always been filled with wanderlust. Although she and her husband had planned to take their family on a ’round-the-world adventure, she didn’t expect their plans to come together on the heels of grief, after losing seven family members in five years. Square Up shows us that travel not only helps us understand and appreciate other cultures, but invites us to find compassion and wisdom, heal from our losses, and discover our capacity for forgiveness, as well as joy.

Guest Review by Laura L.

One day when she was in her early 40’s, Lisa Dailey woke up and wanted change. Not from her family, her husband and two teenage sons were the best things in her life and the only people that had gotten her through the recent, devastating loss of several family members, ranging from her mother and father, to her 23-year-old brother. No, Dailey wanted a change of scenery. After suffering so much loss in only the span of five years, she wanted to get away from her normal life and see the world while she and her family were still young and able to travel. Yet, she was anxious about it at the same time and need some coxing from her husband. So, after coordinating everything and getting discounted passage on military planes (due to her husband’s work with the military) that’s exactly what they did.

Starting in Hawaii, the Dailey’s traveled to Guam, Okinawa, Singapore, Vietnam (where her husband had agreed to volunteer in a dental practice for one month) and many other countries including Spain and India. Along the way, Dailey found a way to remember what was most important to her in life and to begin letting go of the trauma that she had suffered from her tremendous losses.

One of my favorite moments in this memoir was the part where Dailey recounted the experience of spreading her mother’s ashes on a hidden beach in Guam, with her uncle and his family. Although Dailey and her mother had a tense relationship, she felt grateful that she was able to bring her mother to a beach that she loved one last time and reconnect her remains with nature.

This memoir is an absolute work of art on Dailey’s part and one that I will be thinking about for a long time to come. For stellar writing, and a 5 star reading experience, ‘Square Up: 50,000 Miles In Search of A Way Home,’ is not to be missed!


“Lisa Dailey weaves an extraordinary and fascinating tale of her journey around the world with her family. But this is far more than a travel story; it’s a merciful, compassionate story of how traveling experiences can offer insight, perspective, and healing. As a therapist, I can say that I’d recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with profound loss or serious anxiety. It is a story of self-compassion, not self-pity, with moments of charm and humor that delight throughout. If you loved Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, you’ll adore this story.”-Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, author of Filling Her Shoes

“Lisa Dailey is a woman after my own heart. She understands that both the discomfort and adventure of travel can change-and heal-us. In Square Up, in the throes of grief after several family deaths, Lisa and her husband, Ray, take their children around the world to places as far-flung as Cambodia, Myanmar, and Ghana. For the rest of her family, the trip is an opportunity to see the world and stretch their worldview (they visit a temple filled with rats and venture into the culinary enterprise of eating tarantulas, after all). And while all of this is riveting, indeed a treat for lovers of travel writing, what really captures the heart in this memoir is the way the narrator finds her way, after nearly being crushed by her recent losses, to peace of mind and self-compassion. Square Up is full of grace and love and gentle warmth-an authentic story of love of self, family, and, of course, travel.”-Cami Ostman, author of Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

Square Up by Lisa A Dailey is a memoir that will capture the hearts of fans of travel and adventure, but the story is far more spiritual than entertaining. Dailey shares her grief and the pain she experienced after losing family members within five years—her parents and twenty-three-old brother included. The void their loss left in her heart was huge. But then traveling around the world with her family—her husband and two sons—changed everything. They had planned the trip for years and had looked forward to it with excitement. In seven months, this family would travel to thirteen countries and across four continents. What makes it a unique experience? There is a lot of excitement reading this book as the reader follows the itinerary of the author and her family, but there is far more to that. Lisa A Dailey’s travels across different countries brought her into contact with different cultures and people, and the encounter with new places, with nature, with people, provoked something deeper in her, an inner journey towards healing. Lisa A Dailey understood that the world is filled with life and a lot to celebrate, and each step they took away from home led her further away from her pain. The author writes in a mesmerizing and exciting voice and it is interesting to follow how she explores her emotions. Square Up is observant and the author pays attention to detail, offering tips that travelers can use and recreating wonderful sights that readers would want to visit. It is both entertaining and very informative.”- Ruffina Oserio, Readers’ Favorite

“For someone who hasn’t traveled more than a few miles from she was born (that would be me) this book was a grand adventure around the world. I enjoyed myself immensely as I was able to touch, taste, smell and see each destination and it’s mysteries through the narrators stunning descriptions. As well, the underlying story of how the narrator struggled with her deep sense of grief mixed with anger at all the loss of life she’d witnessed, tugged at my heart strings. This story will allure you with its travel, break you open with it’s pain and send you away feeling stronger and more hopeful than ever before.”- Lorinda Boyer, Author of Straight Enough: A Memoir

About Lisa DaileySquare Up by Lisa Dailey

Lisa Dailey is an avid traveler and writer. In her time abroad, she unearthed new ways of looking at her life through her discoveries in remote corners of the world and she continues to enrich her life through travel. She is currently working on a recipe anthology as well as her first work of fiction. A native Montanan, Lisa now makes her home by the ocean in Bellingham, Washington, but returns to her roots every summer for a healthy dose of mountains and Big Sky. Lisa is the owner of Silent Sidekick and Sidekick Press where she helps guide authors through their publishing journey. Author Website: Travel Blog: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram:  & Pinterest:


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This giveaway is for 3 print copies One for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on February 12, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Life as Rog Jan 18 Review Gud Reader
Goodreads Jan 19 Review Lynn Goodwin
Writer Advice Jan 20 Review & Guest Post Lu Ann
Rockin’ Book Reviews Jan 21 Review Andy K.
Amazon Jan 24 Review Denise D.
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Toots Book Reviews Jan 26 Review & Excerpt Jas
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My Tangled Skeins Feb 3 Review & Guest Post Laura Lee 
Bound 4 Escape Feb 4 Guest Review Bee
Book Pleasures Feb 7 Review & Interview Karen T.
Goodreads Feb 9 Review Michael L
Amazon Feb 10 Review
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 11 Review

Square Up by Lisa Dailey

2 thoughts on “Book Review & Giveaway: Square Up by Lisa Dailey

  1. teddyrose1 February 4, 2022 / 12:55 pm

    I’m so glad Laura enjoyed ‘Square Up’! I found it to be an emotional read and loved her travel stories. Thanks for hosting!


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