“We may all be searching for an oracle, a teacher, the way to free ourselves from our addictions or our past traumas. We do so through self-inquiry . . . In Pushing Upward, we fall in love with Sandra Billings and watch her painstakingly consult the I Ching with a variety of decisions and questions . . . We cringe along with her in moments of despair, humiliation, and we rejoice with her every triumph.”
— LA YOGA MAGAZINE
“Not what I expected . . . it was great!”
“Pushing Upward is brave writing, a young woman’s journey toward her dreams, avoiding traps and falling into them, slipping back and finding the grace and will to go on — and so it reflects on our own journey and makes us braver, too.”
— Gerald DiPego, screenwriter for Phenomenon, Message in a Bottle, Instinct, The Forgotten, Angel Eyes, Sharkey’s Machine
“Adler gives readers a wonderful coming-of-age story set in the retro-70’s, when payphones were necessary, a call was 10 cents, and Batik clothing was all the rage. This is a story all generations can appreciate.”
— RETAILING INSIGHT
“I relived the confusion and excitement of my twenties, the many choices, the romance, the degradation, the danger, the ecstasy, the search to find a place in the world and the answer to unarticulated spiritual questions. Pushing Upward describes with relentless honesty the exercise of courage inherent in the human condition.”
— Ana Benscoter, teacher
“This book mirrored my entire life. Reading about Sandra’s tenaciousness to get to her own truth helped me to leave a relationship that wasn’t good for me, and leave a career I was unhappy with. I kept this book under my arm wherever I went. It became my best friend and gave me the courage to face my own fears and push upward.”
— Pat Lavin, hypnotherapist
“Andrea is a most engaging writer. . . . Pushing Upward is a delight. I honestly had a hard time putting it down and then didn’t want to see it end. For days afterwards I found myself missing Sandra Billings and wondering what would happen to her next.”
— Jessica Stuart Yudelson, acting and speaking voice coach
“Those of us seasoned in life, those of us who are mentors or potential mentors, have in Emma a role model. In Sandra, we remember our own journey and, as such, we can embrace the grave responsibility we have for a younger generation, often lost and confused. Pushing Upward is a wonderful book, clever, funny, and most of all heartfelt.”
— Ron Bennett, writer
“Pushing Upward made me think about my life in a way I never did before. It gave me permission to dig down into my past where it was too painful to go by myself. The humor helped me to bring memories to the surface, and move through my own shadows in a less threatening way.”
— Evan McCulloch, musician
“Pushing Upward is a power-packed page-turner –– an example of visionary fiction at its best. Adler uses her characters to show us, not tell us, how we can create conscious transformation in action . . . the way it works when used properly, the way it blows up when we ignore the signs — especially when the answers are not what we want to hear.”
— Kay Snow-Davis, consultant
“Bravo! Andrea has magnificently depicted the struggle and confusion young women go through when faced with life decisions. The best part is, she has accomplished this with great humor, sensitivity and integrity. I can’t wait for this book to become a film.”
— Sofia van Surskum, Executive Director, Durango Film Festival
“This love story captures the essence of a modern use of the I Ching in the most elegant and accurate way.”
— Paul O’Brien, Divination Foundation
“This is one of the most heart-touching, inspirational and interesting books I have ever read. It is so unique, so original. Laced with the author’s own experiences of being and actress, journalist and spiritual women, the reader is welcomed into a world of theater and an emotional roller coaster of the drama of Sandra’s inner and outer life.”
— An Angels Kiss BLOG – Angel St. John
“Andrea Adler deftly interweaves themes of love and betrayal, friendship and higher guidance, ego and surrender to create a compelling and thought-provoking read.”
— Miriam Knight, New Consciousness Review
“Pushing Upward is woven together with thick texture and color; the characters are raw, real and honest. I love how Adler takes the reader on that rollercoaster ride we’ve all been on . . . the one where we believe in ourselves one minute, and then the next, search for an escape when that belief is hard to find. Pushing Upward has ‘bestseller’ written all over it. But most importantly, the lives and the minds and the hearts it will touch will be tremendous. This is a work of art — beautifully crafted and molded by every step Sandra Billings took.”
— Holly Zubot, marketing consultant
This love story captures the essence of a modern use of the I Ching in the most elegant and accurate way.
— Paul O”Brien, Divination Foundation
As someone who is about to turn 21, Pushing Upward was the perfect book for me to read. Finding my path has been really important, and so is finding a mentor.
By reading Pushing Upward, I was able to identify so much with Sandra and her peaks and valleys. Fortunately, I have a mentor who motivates me to excel and doesn’t take no for an answer. I don’t know what I would do without her. This is why I really connected with the book. I know the importance of mentorship.
Being in my 20s and thinking about my future is pretty scary. Sandra knew what she wanted, so it’s pushing me to think about my own and want I want to achieve.
This was a passionate journey that can engage anyone from start to finish.
– Grace Kiley, Student (20)
Inspiring and insightful, Pushing Upward seemed to come into my life as serendipitously as the elderly Emma responded to Sandra’s fateful ad in Andrea Adler’s tale of transformation. Sandra’s entertaining story isn’t just for the young twenty-something looking for direction; it’s for anyone who has let doubt derail their dreams and is open to examining themselves, just as Sandra does on her journey.
The novel is a cautionary story of how we let our past hold us back, how we use excuses to prevent us from acting in the present and how to positively embrace what our future holds. Uncertainly is expected, the test is how we respond to it!
Incorporating the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination system popular in the 70s, Pushing Upward introduces a tool that readers can use to better reflect on the big and small questions in our lives. After reading Andrea’s book, I bought the I Ching and its millennia-old wisdom is a helpful sounding board and guide.
For the people who give us strength and guidance, Andrea and the I Ching remind us to value them. And, more importantly, to be a source of strength and support for others – no matter how consumed we become in our own lives. Pushing Upward is a lesson to be open and realize that “every encounter, every experience teaches us something.” People come into our lives for a reason – to help, to test, and to teach.
Pushing Upward helped me to overcome my own uncertainty and reluctance to ask for help, and appreciate those that offer it. Andrea’s book and the I Ching taught me to “not allow daggers of doubt to puncture your heart” and that with patience and effort, success is what you make of it.
— KIM HUNTER, Marketing Consultant
I have to say, I haven’t been as positively affected by a novel and so connected to a text before. I’ve never had someone put words down that so accurately described what I couldn’t think of how to express. Adler’s first few pages hooked and haunted me in such a way that hit a bulls-eye directly where my life was at the moment. Accurately capturing the paralyzing panic over life becoming a tragic myth and careening out of our control to the point where identity is even affected, then waking up to the truth that it is just us that control our destinies and the strength it takes to make that realization and take a chance on changing one’s life in order truly live. Like the lead Sandra Billings, I work in the entertainment industry but as a writer/director, recently having moved to Los Angeles I have begun to come across huge cross roads in my career, one particular one had me suffering a crisis of self, having opportunity presenting itself in front of me yet my soul being compromised. Like the oracle that is the I-Ching, the book came into my life and provided such guidance back to my inner strength that was exactly what I needed…long story short, I made the right decision. Thank you to Andrea Adler for writing the book and helping to wake fellow creatives up. I know it will positively impact all no matter age, gender or career, for it is a universal zeitgeist.
— SARA WERNER, Director
“Pushing Upward brought up shocked and poignant recognition, as it rocked both my forty-three-year-old self and my five-year-old self. I found that when I took breaks from reading it, I treated my children differently. The best words of advice I ever read about parenting were: ‘Children may not always remember what you told them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ This book makes this point more eloquently than any work of fiction or nonfiction I’ve read. And the power of the book lies in Sandra’s triumph over her internalized demons. The lesson of the book is not in her brilliant debut with its glowing accolades, but in her life-affirming disciplined choices that allow her to grow, as a person and as an artist. I think this book should be read by any actress, and by any woman, and by any person.”
— Julie Novak, mother
Adler’s Pushing Upward has lassoed our senses by reminding us of the cultural, ethical and spiritual climate of our time — our common struggle to find our identities, as we learn what it means to love ourselves and make peace with our chosen path. The heartfelt story of 21-year old Sandra, a girl in the autumn of her life and 80-year old Emma, nearing the end of hers, leaves an indelible mark that changes them, and us, forever.
– Ann Cafferty, Law Asst.
Andrea is a most engaging writer . . . Pushing Upward is a delight. I honestly had a hard time putting it down and then didn’t want to see it end. For days afterwards I found myself missing Sandra Billings and wondering what would happen to her next.
— Jessica Stuart Yudelson, acting / speaking voice coach
“There are many things I love about Pushing Upward. One is how it portrays the struggle to find, and establish, one’s self in the world at 21. We all start this process as children, and it continues throughout our lives, until, at last, we become less enamored with holding up the illusion of a separate self – ready to melt into the grand, boundless, limitless ‘we’.
But when we’re young, to survive, it’s 100% necessary to break free from the families, schools, governments, religions, etc that all want to snuff out our soul light. This is the struggle you show us all too well in Pushing Upward.
There were so many external forces trying to push us down when we were young. I remember it clearly. And it took strength, imagination, love to keep on pushing through mountains of negation. I don’t know if kids today have the same debauchery of spirit to rebel against. They seem content to belong to status quo – perhaps they are starting this lifetime already at ‘we’?
Incredibly well done! Draws the reader into each situation, where I felt I was actually in every scene, three feet away from the drama; the language, dialogue, descriptions, all perfect and 100% you’re voice.
And I absolutely love theater – so cathartic, transporting, redeeming.
Through this movie, hopefully, young people who never attend theater, will get how cool it is – I love how a community of actors, directors, set builders, gets so bonded over the course of a run. All this comes through in your book, and can be used quite beautifully in a movie – where the audience gets a visceral example of how good it is to be part of a ‘we’ and how success only comes from the ‘we’. Disconnection is a common malady in our culture today – we see this in Sandra, then we see her, through theater, resolve it. I can see each scene playing out on the big screen.”
-Jack Rose, Founder of Waves for Water
“Pushing Upward is the definition of inspiration. It is endlessly relatable in so many different ways. I instantly felt connected with Sandra before even reading the book just based off of her aspirations for life and career and I am so thankful that I read it in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down.
Andrea’s way of explaining Sandra’s feelings in every exact moment without really having to say much at all truly shows how talented she is. Sandra Billings is one of my all time favorite characters to read about and every time I read this book or maybe just one page, it reminds me of the purpose of life and perseverance and it also reminds me of why I wanted to be an actor in the first place.
Just the idea of how one character, story or monologue can completely change someone’s point of view and inspire their life in so many ways and that’s exactly what this book did for me. It showed that dreams are always attainable and hard work is at the root of everything and I feel like I don’t know how I went on without ever knowing this book. Truly inspiring, and one of the best reads of my life! No matter what your struggles are or road blocks this book will teach you how to keep going and it really is relatable to anyone. I DEFINITELY recommend this book to anyone!”
– Ashlyn Goodban
“A great book in my opinion is one that you keep thinking about once you put it down. Pushing Upward is that kind of book. You think about it because like it or not, you can relate to the protagonist (Sandra Billings), or you remember a time when you could. Whether it’s self-defeating behaviors, feeling unworthy or not good enough, feeling like an impostor, feeling defeated, paralyzed by self-doubt, being self-absorbed, out of balance, jealous over the success of others, disconnected from true-self, or pinning your well-being to something outside of yourself (a particular person, milestone, or event) etc., most of us have been there.
As I went through Sarah’s journey, I found myself wanting her to stop, get centered, breath, connect with her truth, and then engage from a place of . . . “Who I am is enough . . . it’s more than enough. I have a gift to share and I’m here to share it. I’ll do my part . . . and not worry about the rest.” And then I remembered . . . oh yeah . . . I should be telling that to myself!
This a great read, which lives up to the definition of “fiction” put forth by Albert Camus. “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
– Kathy Forbes