I believe that all people who bought this book were expecting to find some kind of description of Heaven, much like the famous book about the little boy who died and came back to life. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but she didn't even get to Heaven. She got stuck at some kind of reception hall and came back. The event is, in reality, a deceptive hook for the author to spend 90% of the book talking about her personal theology. And bad theology it is.
The book revolves on two main episodes: one is her near-drowning in a ill-planned rafting holiday in Chile and the other the sad death of her young son. During the time her kayak was stuck in the bottom of the river, the author says she had an out-of-body experience and met several spirits in some kind of celestial reception hall of Heaven. The spirits don't talk much, and she had to come back to her body because her friends were calling her name. I had the feeling I was reading a book from Shirley McLaine. We must remind ourselves that out-of-body, or astral projection experiences are very common among occultists and new agers. Did she test the spirits to know if they were from God ? Not at all.
There is also much Spiritist doctrine in the book, doctrine that sounds like it came straight from a book from Alan Kardec. Dead people come back to give guidance to family and everybody has a mission on Earth to accomplish. Angels are responsible for every little thing we do. Dead people make trees bloom as signs for the living. I kid you not, the only thing missing is reincarnation.
The author gives us the very strong impression that she is the kind of person who must have things her own way. She reminds us every couple of pages how she and her family are over-achievers, that she is a brilliant physician and a scientist (sic), and a sportswoman of the highest caliber.I was expecting that she would climb the Everest next. For people with this kind of personality, accepting the simple truths of the Gospel, the childish faith and trust that is necessary to become a real Christian, is a challenge. One has to keep his faith even in times of doubt and lack of spiritual signs. Like Job, in the end one must accept the fact that God may not give us answers at this time. The hardest part of the Christian life is realizing one is not in control.
Instead, the author claims to trust God, but she does it in her own terms. She sees herself as a hunter for coincidences in life that give her a clear view of what God does. She is always on top and has explanations for everything, but they don't come from the Bible. She even knows that her son will die young. Much of her confidence comes from encounters with a mysterious spirit guide, whom she says "may" be Jesus...or not. Any believer would check in her Bible if it is OK to talk with a dead person, for example. But the author is above this kind of humble faith.
I sympathize with the suffering the author went through with the death of her son, but this is no excuse to sell a book about going to Heaven when she has not, and to claim to be a special believer worthy of individual revelation, when these revelations contradict plain doctrine. Real encounters with Jesus, face to face or "only" spiritual, usually change people. Here in the book we see only the over-achieving, totally in control person changing the focus of her energy from her career to a kind of spirituality she can control and define.
As a Christian, I must admit I had a feeling of spiritual oppression after reading the first chapters. Buyer, beware.
Narration: as usual, very professional narrator, but the sad and "profound" tone the narrator was probably told to use is boring and as the book advances, irritating.
On the positive side, I must say that if you are a Neil Young fan, this book might interest you. He sounds sincere, and gives lots of little details about his life that perhaps his mother and his fan club members are interested about.
For the rest of us, the book is big disappointment. It has no storyline, no flow, it is just a collection of disconnected ramblings and stories, much like any blog. However, since he is Neil Young, he can put it in a book format and sell it. Some of the chapters are outrageous in their banality, like the one where he spends pages talking about the time his car broke down and he had to wait for a tow truck on the road. Or his passion for toy trains. Or the dozens of commercials he does about his sound software company/project. I almost quit reading the book three times, but wanted to finish just to write a fair review.
I am a enthusiast for the 1968-1973 golden era of rock and folk music, and I expected to find interesting facts about CSNY and other singers of the time. There is almost nothing about it. I mean, the guy lived in the most interesting time in rock and roll history but instead of writing great stories he spends his time talking about the decoration on the walls of his ranch house. I expect to learn something when I finish a book, but in this case I am in the same place I was on the music business or the musical community of Young's time.
I wonder what happens with these great rock stars when they age. He reminds me of Sammy Haggar and his boring deals with vodka and mountain bikes. Their lives become much like the ones of successful retired accountants or Wall Street business men, full of super expensive and futile hobbies and no real intelectual or artistic pursuits. Hey, come and see my $10 million dollar wall display of baseball memorabilia (in his case a car collection). More often than not, they also change into super beta types, drooling over their second wives who seem to dominate them with their strong personalities (think about Sinatra). It is like a curse, the curse of the old bourgeois. I wonder if they ever were visionaries at all, or if they were just lucky to strike a few good songs.
PS: I listened to the audio book, and Keith Carradine does a superb job of narration. It is a shame it was wasted on this book.
There should be a huge warning sign on the front of the book: "this is a memoir about the daughter, NOT a biography of the mother".
On a positive side, the author can write well. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a good story. The book is all about the daughter's feelings about her mother and some of her childhood stories. I bought the book thinking that it would show why a successful woman (the mother) turned into a bum and an alcoholic. Unfortunately, this is the only thing that is not in the book. The book reads more like one of those self-absorbed blogs, describing for pages without end how grandma's kitchen looked like, how an old painting by her mother looked like, etc.
In summary, the author's life is not very interesting. She moved away from her mother when she was 12 and had a pretty normal life, so she missed most of her mother's later changes, and when she was with the mother, she was too young to understand anything anyway.
In what we can get in the middle of the daughter's rants, we find that the mother was simply a narcissistic and selfish beautiful girl who had a stunt as a model and later designing clothes. She was such a pain in the neck that her boyfriend and later her husband left her. Faced with fading beauty and the hardship of motherhood, she turned into an alcoholic and a slut, and became more egotistic and lazy than ever. As usual in these cases, her life falls apart and she becomes a bum, who is murdered by another wandering bum. It is a common story, unfortunately, but void of any originality or drama that would deserve a book. Just watch the TV show "Intervention" if you want to see something similar.
Absolutely, it is a story that only a daughter would be interested in.
As usual with Audible books, the narration is very good.
Skip this one !
Yes, the book gives a good idea about the Van Halen Band during Haggard's time there. Eddie was crazy, in a strange autistic way. But he was a genius, with the curse to make all that worked with him small in comparison.
Things happen too fast. He gets into business and becomes a millionaire in a couple of pages. We don't know much about his relationship with his kids.
The narrator was superb. Sometimes I would forget it was not the author speaking, but Scott. Great job.
The book surprised me on how the world changes, how a poor boy can go so far. I don't like his songs, and had never heard about him until Van Halen, and even so I always preferred the Roth phase. But what I didn't know was that he is more a business men than a singer. I would like to understand better how it happened.
Good book, lacks some explanation in some parts, but gives a good idea on how the business work. Fans of Van Halen will enjoy some of the gossip.
The book is obviously targeted to Twilight fans, but it is much worse. People who enjoy romantic stories will not find one there, the characters simply meet and immediately fall in love, without any conflict. No one understands really why boy loves girl, because ether is absolutely no reason for him to do it.
Neither it is a vampire or witch story, the characters remind me more of X-Men mutants (there is a lot of talk about DNA) who can fly, throw fire rays, etc. It is ridicuolous.
This book is beyond salvation. The author simply used every dirty trick in the book and was not able to have a story with any pace or thrill. It is just boring.
The poor narrator is good, as usual with audible books, but what can she do to save such a pathetic book?
Apart from the boring pace, pretentious dialogues and flat personalities of the characters, the thing that strikes me most is that the book is racist...against humans. Humans are stupid, ignorant, weak. The vampires and witches are divine. Give me a break.
This was the worst book I have bought from Audible in 10 years. Beware.
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