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The trouble with a story that is based on true facts is you just don't know how much is fiction and how much really happened that way. I am guessing this book has a whole lot more fiction than fact. Which could be fine under certain circumstances, I concede.
This book is the story of the author's trek along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, on a pilgrimage to find himself and straighten his life out. He has recently traveled to India for the first time in his life to disperse his father's ashes in the Ganges. I set the book up on my mp3 player for a long car ride to a desert vacation and was anxiously anticipating myself and my husband loving it. Yes, I was actually proud of myself for finding such a wonderful book for a road trip.
Almost immediately, I felt my husband's attention wandering. I worried that he might fall asleep while driving. We had several conversations along the way, while pausing the book in various places, as to what we felt about the story. While I found it a bit more interesting than he did, we both agreed on what disappointed us, just to different degrees. Here's the consensus of what we thought.
The person portrayed in the book, the author presumably, was not a very likeable or admirable guy, even moving into his period of enlightenment toward the end of the pilgrimage. We did understand that he would have to start out essentially flawed and then, over the course of time, would become enlightened and therefore, more pleasant and likeable. But for us, it didn't happen this way.
Fictitious(?) Kamal was not a very nice person and he improved only slightly over the course of his long 500 mile journey. He was utterly self-centered. Perhaps that is the point of a pilgrimage, to better yourself, who knows? He whined endlessly about his alcoholic, abusive father and yet, every stop in the pilgrimage included details of his bar stops and consumption of huge amounts of wine, etc. I am not talking about a few glasses, I mean bottles and bottles.
He continuously felt sorry for himself and shed tears, yet he had graduated from college, poor baby, had started his own company, had a good mother, and had been contemplating medical school with no mentioned money worries. On his trek, he would take up with different people who always spouted words of wisdom to him. Most of these folks were undeveloped characters, until at last, he met Kat, a much older woman of silvery gray hair, whom he accompanied for the last legs of the trek. Despite Kat's advancing years, she walked like a trooper, day after day, day after day, with no aching bones, feet, etc. Kamal didn't seem to have many aches and complaints either, except the repeating poor-little-me story.
I love trek stories. I have read many of them, the Appalachian trail, Pacific Crest, etc. I took away so little of what must have been an awesome journey through Spain. Most of the stops and sites were glossed over quickly. Too many of gems of wisdom seemingly needed to intrude.
What kind of guy was fictitious(?) Kamal? In one of the refuges (like hostels), he saw a man, a fellow pilgrim, grimacing in pain over his extensive blisters. Kamall had a potion in his pack that reduced friction and therefore, blisters. While he offered it to others, he wouldn't give it to the man because he, Kamal, took too much glee in watching the grimaces.
Okay, enough ranting and raving. This is just a lone, dissenting review. The others rave about the book. Read the reviews, read the description. You will get a better feel of whether this is the book for you.
Oh yes, and David Pittu, the narrator, is a gem. He can even do an older woman with cigarette voice!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Good story that goes in depth with some similar concepts as love yourself as if your life depends on it and many more. The amount of important topics that were discussed in a fun, realistic way, made this 100% worth it. I couldn't stop listening.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
A fabulous book that has helped me a lot. Thoroughly recommended, especially if you're asking questions about life.
Rebirth is a beautifully written novel that parallels the author’s pilgrimage in Spain and his journey to forgiving his abusive father. Along the way, he learns all the most important life lessons from the people he meets along the way. Impossible not to binge listen to.