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Publisher's Summary

In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was - a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?

Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss - her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother - she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life.

In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued - from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal - and completely universal.

©2010 Dani Shapiro (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Universality in Discerning a Faith for Oneself

I liked that Dani shared a lot about her experiences and tied it all in to the theme of her work. One might think on first glance this work might be some new age/wishy washy story, but Ms Shapiro is really a down to earth realist in this book who shares how she found a way that made sense to her for how to be a good person and be good to others for a reason. I am not Jewish or Buddhist or Atheist or Agnostic, which are all addressed in Devotion, but I still got a lot out of it, and I am thankful she read it to me too so I had time to take it in - great voice for rhythmic words!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

Piercing truthfulness. One of those books that I had to pull over on the side of the road 12 times to record ideas. Artful, deep, authentic.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tremendous

Wow . . . I don't know how I stumbled onto this but sure glad I did. The author's POV and experiences resonated with me. This is not "easy" content . . . it is contemplative and honest and it hit home deep within me. Thank you, Dani.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Meh

Like one other reader stated, this was more about the author's examination of her Jewishness than anything else. I didn't find anything redeeming, however, for readers outside her circle of friends and family. She did have a nice voice. 2.5 stars due to boring material and irrelevance. This book was basically wasted time and disappointing.

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Save yourself while you still can.

How on earth did this get published?
Glum but well-off middle-aged mom frets that she's not a good Jew and is basically a total drag. Seriously. Zero humor, nil insight. Kind of like listening to the longest most boring self-absorbed therapy session ever.
Oy, indeed.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Eh

Some great nuggets but overall I found the story to come across as somewhat pessimistic... Just not what I was looking for.

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Loved everything about this book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I first heard about her from a recent Oprah Super Soul Podcast I listened to the other day. I was not familiar with her work before. I inhaled her book -- a page turner and I didn't want it to end. I found it interesting that last year I also had come across and listened to Deborah Feldman's "Unorthodox" & got glimpses into the world of Hassidic Judaism and the Orthodox religion. Both books have deep stories about the strong need to belong -- even though they have left their communities for their identity preservation -- but have come back to include some tradition because they were raising their sons and wanted them to appreciate their Jewish roots --but not in the way they were raised. Their strong sense of self to live their life in a way that feels authentic -- but also takes those steep traditions and turns them upside down. Both have raw stories and are told with a deep need for spiritual seeking. I think Dani is an amazing story teller and I can't wait to listen to another book! Her non stop questioning and seeking the truth and her need to quiet her monkey mind chatter so spoke to me. I also practice Iyengar Yoga so I enjoyed and related to her yoga practice and trying to quiet and restore the meditative mind. It made my meditations easier to do.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Another of her books.

What about Dani Shapiro’s performance did you like?

Her voice, her non-emotional delivery, and her contemplation of her words while she was speaking -- to make sure what she was thinking and had written was actually still her truth.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Looking for "GOD" in all the wrong places...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful