Evelina A, Reviewer
Try as I might, I could not make this book go down. If you're the author, please just don't read the review. I don't want to make you feel bad. Not my intention at all. This is going to be a bad review, and because it makes me feel the worst emotions to be unkind to someone, I am not sure it's even a quality review at this point. And it's a slightly angry one. I admit – SoulStroller might just not be for me, because I don't enjoy travel myself, and it seems to be about the concept of spirituality through travel. But I don't know if that's the only problem. For one, the author came off as... pretty privileged and completely unaware of it. And in a way that I can't explain, I couldn't put my finger on it. This woman goes on and on about things, and yet she's only aware of her own privileged American existence, and she tries to come across as wise, but just ends up sounding clueless. I don't know, I've read a lot of books on spirituality. There's just something so naive about this one. The only thing I can compare it to is if a person who read The Alchemist, got inspired and decided to write a book of their own, and one on spirituality, at that. This is what would result. This is it. It felt like fluff upon fluff to me. It's someone trying to convince themselves and others that their vacation is somehow an act of enlightenment. And that they should somehow be imparting it to others now. Example: "My friend the bee is trapped behind the glass... does he realize he is there because of me?" Do you see what I mean? How much more self-centered can you get, to claim something like that? No, of course the little bee doesn't have it's own life. It wasn't just flying about with it's own little errands. Everything revolves around you, Western SoulStroller. You're in the universe's eye, dead center. You're what matters. Now let's go teach that to others and claim our wisdom. But again, maybe it just wasn't for me. And holy god, please don't let the author read this review, because I do NOT like being unkind. But I can't not speak my mind :( it's one thing to be privileged and live with rose shades on your eyes. It's another thing to claim that's anything to do with being spiritual. Another thing that I didn't enjoy was that it's solely about the author's experiences, even mundane ones. Yeah, there are some touching moments, I'll admit. But most of the time, she's just telling us about how she went here or there, or even how she ate a a croissant. And through this, she tries to show us the magic she felt. But it doesn't work like that, does it? Those moments are personal. They're never going to mean anything to a complete stranger. Not if you tell them like that. This kind of story could be a letter to your child or your grandchild. But not to strangers. Why would we be interested? More than that, why would we want to hear five different instances of how jetlag affected the author, all absolutely the same? Why would you mention it more than once? How does that advance the story at all? It just serves to bore the reader. I don't think the author has illusions of grandeur. I don't think she actually thinks she's wiser than thou either. I think she truly felt something very powerful in what she was experiencing. However... I also think the author failed to express it, and it just came out as privileged fluff. Then again, I am from a small country in Europe, and I grew up very differently. Maybe this story will resonate with you more. Maybe you'll see the magic. Let's hope so. I feel bummed out about disliking the book so much now - what with the publicist being super nice to me and offering to review this, because they thought I might like it, based on something else of of theirs I liked before. But I just have to be honest. I regret starting this book. I have wasted my time, trying to get through this. I'm so, so sorry for this review, but I am not often flat out angered by a book. Still, I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy in exchange to an honest review. And I'm sorry I truly didn't like it. I'm SO SORRY.