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truth cleverly disguised as fiction
am 19. Juni 2000
I had missed the chance to read the Celestine Prophesy when I was about 14. I was curious to see what's topping the charts of the New York Times bestseller, and there it was. The blurb wasn't terrible flattering, and I thought I had a lot more interesting things to do.
It's been six years of bittersweet memories that I wouldn't trade for the world. Along the way, I've been looking for answers to questions, learning and researching tai chi, talking with people determined to make a better living.
The second time I encountered the Celestine Prophesy was last week. I wasn't looking for the book. I've never heard anyone recommend it to me. I was at a bookstore browsing. I saw the book, and picked it up at as a prop since there's a lovely lass standing across the room. At least, the book was a prop until I really read the first few pages. Since then, I've been compelled to read this book, and a few of James Redfield's other books.
There's truth to what the less-than-"wow" reviews have said: the writing by itself wasn't all that great. The plot was well-greased and well-worn. The content of the book is not original.
But that's not what's compelling about the book. I knew what the author was trying to say, even if I wanted to smack the main character for not picking it up fast enough. Obfuscating and encoding the book into some college literature mishmash would not have the same impact as the book's clarity did. I wasn't just reading the book: I was reliving my life because I've encountered, first hand, what went on in the book. But this was the first time these ideas and concepts were put together like this. This was the first time that I could see myself as a whole person, and not just pieces everywhere. The Celestine Prophesy is catalytic -- it causes what's going to happen anyways at much faster pace. That's why, I think, the book is so compelling.
Some other reviewers have disparaged the lack of originality in the book. I have yet to meet people who dislike the book, and I would be interesting in meeting more of these people. From what I can tell of these people who loath the book, they didn't find the silver bullet in the book that would make their lives better, and they saw the book saw the book as a passive form of entertainment, or perhaps they just want spiritual awareness and the meaning of their lives handed to them. For those reasons alone, the book sucks. But then again, if you had grokked that you can take your spiritual life into your own hands, you wouldn't notice the material failings of the book.
I bid you all a fair journey. Please direct any personal flames to firstname.lastname@example.org as I'd like to understand more of why some people hate the book.