The Cartoonist Reads and is Disappointed by The Celestine Prophecy

James Redfield‘s blockbusting best seller from 1994, The Celestine Prophecy, recently found its way to me and I read it with initial great interest which evaporated half way through. But I decided to see it through to the end.

A complete review of an old book which many of you may have already read would be boring here but my main comments are:

1) Incredibly sparse narrative – hardly any creativity here at all. Just a repetitious “we got into the car, drove into the jungle and climbed the mountain” style.
2) To call the characters two-dimensional would be a massive compliment to the author.
3) Although the “story” is obviously an envelope for the central theory about spirituality, this theory is delivered in dialogues so stilted as to make George Bush sound eloquent.
4) The finale is interesting, to mysticism and sci-fi-buffs, but ultimately ludicrous.
5) There is NO HUMOUR! Not a single joke, laugh or even one of the characters giving a ‘wry smile’. If I was trapped in a pub by one of these ‘characters’ droning on and on in their oh-so-wise po-faced manner, I would probably spontaneously combust!
6) A quick scan on the internet about Mayan history reveals gaping factual errors, the main one being that the Mayans never settled in Peru where the story is set.
7) The apparent good intentions of the book are tainted by the overwhelming feeling of having been trapped by a commercial formula devised by James Redfield. It’s a bit like a McDonalds’ serving of New Age philosophy. ‘Do you want Lies with that?”

And I’m not what you would call a skeptic or a cynic! I wanted to be transported and to believe! And perhaps I do – in some parts of it, but it was so sloppily served up, so obviously for the mass market that it’s off putting.

Apparently Rupert Sheldrake‘s The Rebirth of Nature is better. I’ll let you know when I’ve read it!


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