Verdict: Through poetry, prose, and an intriguing novella, the author takes readers on his lonely spiritual journey to discover life’s true purpose. Though occasionally insightful, the book’s passive/aggressive style feels jarring in a spiritual guide.
A CHRONICLE OF AMENDS is divided into four parts: poetry, reflections, a novella, and notes/probes. Within each part, the author presents his perceptions about the meaning of life. The preface mentions the inevitability of upsetting people, and indeed the underlying hostility in this book will alienate some readers.
The poetry section includes ‘Sometimes I Feel,’ which summarizes other poems in the collection exploring the author’s inner emotions and outward expressions. “Sometimes I feel / So lonely and private / My interests, my choices / So different from the herd’s/…So here is the trial / Will you counsel a fool? / To fix his idiocy / Then warrant his rage.”
Additional poems, including “Extremely Agitated,” “Tired and Bruised,” “A Wasted Life,” and “How Foolish is Man” praise God, while condemning man for ignorance and “sinful paths.”
While thought-provoking content, the poetry’s language is commonplace. Free verse poems with infrequent imagery and awkward passive voice “Easy it was, / Just evidence it is”, “Never hot is is,” etc., plus repeated misuse of “lays” instead of “lies” in “Herein Lays a Man” and other references (“but therein lays the problem” weaken the overall message.
In part 2, Reflections, brief untitled observations (sometimes reworking established truisms), include a piece echoing the sentiment from the “Sometimes I Feel” poem. “Start listening to people, and they will start liking you. Tell them they are right, and they will love you. Tell them what is right, and they will avoid you. Tell them they are wrong, and they will hate you.”
The novella highlights this book. Here, the author fictionalizes a true account of a terrorist attack he survived, and what he learned from the near-death experience. Interesting and well-organized with an introduction, lengthy flashback, and conclusion, the novella summarizes the same ideas presented through the poetry, reflections, and notes/probes, but in a more compelling, highly dramatic way.
The final section contains several short, strongly opinionated essays on a variety of topics including worry, Atheism, and religious tolerance.
Through poetry, prose, and an intriguing novella, the author takes readers on his lonely spiritual journey to discover life’s true purpose. Though occasionally insightful, the book’s passive/aggressive style feels jarring in a spiritual guide.
Reviewed by Carol Michaels for IndieReader.