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Publisher's Summary

It has been nearly five decades since Shirley MacLaine commenced her brave and public commitment to chronicling her personal quest for spiritual understanding. Now Shirley is back - with her most breathtakingly powerful and unique book yet.

The Camino is the story of a riveting odyssey that began with a pair of anonymous handwritten letters imploring Shirley to make a difficult pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela Camino in Spain. Throughout history, countless pilgrims have taken up the trail. It is an ancient - and allegedly enchanted - pilgrimage. People from St. Francis of Assisi to Dante and Chaucer have taken the journey - a nearly 500-mile trek across highways, mountains, cities and fields.

For Shirley, the Camino was both an intense spiritual and physical challenge. For a woman in her sixth decade, completing such a grueling trip on foot in 30 days at 20 miles per day was remarkable. But even more astounding was her spiritual route: back thousands of years, through past lives to the very origin of the universe.

With rich insight, humility, and grace, The Camino promises listeners the journey of a thousand lifetimes.

©2000 Shirley MacLaine (P)2000 Simon & Schuster

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A good account of traveling the Camino

I read this book because I've had an interest in the Camino for some time - not enough to do it myself, but....
I did go to Santiago de Compostela a few years ago and visited the Cathedral and the town, but I did it the easy way on a day trip from a cruise.
I've known of MacLaine's interest in things spiritual and esoteric for some time and have read some of her previous books. This one doesn't disappoint, although she does get "way out there" in parts of it. She deviates from the story of walking the Camino in recounting the events of a past life in Lemuria. I reamain a skeptic on this aspect of the narrative, but she writes and speaks about it with conviction. Who knows - maybe she's right. I especially enjoyed hearing this book in her voice.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A Camino Story and more.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At one point, I had to force myself to go forward when Shirley gave warning that what she was going to say next might be strange to most people. But, when I listened closely, I had a basic understanding of her thought process and how "it could happen". She talks openly and intelligently on what she believes happened to her and you can see how the dynamics of her thinking relates somewhat to the biblical learnings some of us grew up with and might explain some of lifes mysteries. These mysteries are avoided by some, questioned by others and researched by a few. I give Shirley the thumbs up for being inquisitive enough, open enough, and forthright enough to go forward and seek her truth. Once again, we each have different truths. Her account of the Camino was great and an enjoyable read. I have thought about it for several days and that is an indication of a book that stays in your mind because it gave you food for thought. If you are interested in the Camino de Santiago and seeking a spiritual journey - this book would be a good one to get on audible. Once again, I found it enjoyable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Camino Porn: How to be a Narcissist on the Camino

What would have made The Camino better?

It would have been better if the Camino was actually a life-changing experience for MacLaine, instead of something used to reinforce a spectacularly tedious form of self-centeredness.

What could Shirley MacLaine have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She could have had an awakening, and something worthwhile to say instead of rehashing her past-life obsessions even on the Camino, and turning into yet another MacLaine book of Sexual Braggadocios. I would not have believed it possible, particularly for a woman in her 6th decade at the time of writing, to be this juvenile and unenlightened all the while while boasting about her spirituality. The sexual obsessions start right off the bat, in the first few pages, and keep going all the way throughout — whether sexcapades in reality, on the alleged astral plane, in vision or the seemingly countless men who want to hit on the aging actress on the Camino. Tedious and bafflingly unaware.

How could the performance have been better?

Indeed it could. One would think that the great (in her own telling) actress would have a handle on PRONUNCIATIONS of words, even common words. You would think there would be an element of self-pride in narrating her own book, that would cause her to speak as though a trained voice and one who checks things out. That, alas, is not to be in her self-narrated book. She merrily mispronounces her way through the book — sometimes changing pronunciations from bad to correct and all over the place, especially with words like albergue and refugio — indicating the hostels where the princess stayed alone the way. Oh yes, always the princess despite her protests (which doth happen too much). <br/><br/>Also, an amazingly annoying habit of being unable to pronounce the word MY. That's right, MY. As in "my backpack" or "my Camino" or "my friend" etc. Instead, throughout, some weird hillbilly-like sloppy-talk emerges in which EVERY TIME she says, "muh backpack," "muh friend," "muh shoes," "muh blisters," etc. and wow. <br/><br/>How can an actress speak like that? Ugh. <br/><br/>In the end credits it is mentioned the book was abridged for audio. Thank God.

What character would you cut from The Camino?

How about John the Scot, the alleged astral companion of yore? Or the entire cast of Lemuria?

Any additional comments?

Yes. As other reviewers mention regarding the print version, the past-life soliloquies are simply beyond tedious, beyond being distractions. Just awful. Has she not grown past this stuff YET? No. She has not. <br/>And here's the rub —if this woman on a lifelong spiritual question knew anything at all about past life teachings from, say Eastern Philosophy and Religion, she would know the goal is to awaken, come to higher states of consciousness, and become enlightened, thereby ENDING the tedious cycle of death and rebirth. Instead, Shirley relishes an endless reenactment with no sign of enlightenment in sight. Or even the awareness that the purpose of life is a higher state of consciousness in which karma is fulfilled and this rebirthing ceases to be required. <br/>Shirley remains so obsessed with her paste lives that she cannot stop talking about them and trying to relive them. YET, the teachings of the Yogis and Swamis and Maharishis and wise teachers agree that this is a distraction, a seduction, and a disastrous one at that. First of all, if you are alive now, you are further along than you were the last time. So then, why are you dwelling on the past and the people you may or may not have known, when it DOES NOT MATTER??? You were less evolved then than now. (Forget the Lemuria nonsense.) Less evolved. Progress is now. It is HERE. It is in the body, on the earth, in this life. Spending your time obsessing over past lives is worse than people who live in the past in THIS life! You know how annoying it is when you meet someone who lives in the past? Well, Shirley lives in the past lives so obsessively she's just not here and is wasting, I tell you, wasting — her life this time. She has squandered her life on sexual promiscuity and talking about it endlessly as well. She put a long-suffering husband through some kind of hell and he doesn't even get a mention these days in her litany of lovers — that no book of Shirley's comes without. She seems to have a never-ending need to try to validate herself in the eyes of the public by constantly talking about her sexual exploits, not only in this life, but of course, in past lives. And of course, even the past life lovers were famous, how could it be otherwise for Shirley? Charlemagne became Palme, and so on. Tedious, tedious, tedious — and as unenlightened as it gets.<br/><br/>Another large part of the book is Shirley dodging reporters throughout Spain who seem equally obsessed with her Camino. I find this a dubious claim. Come on now. She is at this time old and reduced to playing supporting old lady (albeit quirky old ladies) parts. She's not that relevant, except in her own mind. And yet she would have us believe she was the main attraction throughout Spain during her Camino. In the end, she is dodging them IN CARS — thus, frankly, nullifying the legitimacy of her final kilometers and walk into Santiago! She didn't walk, she rode up to the Cathedral. It is my understanding, having walked the Camino myself, that you MUST walk, NON-STOP, WALK — that last 100 miles and prove it with the stamps. She got the stamps, jumped in a car, and sped away. Cheater, cheater! What a thing! She gets here Credenciale under false pretenses, frankly, having ridden far too many miles to qualify! Excuses, excuses. <br/><br/>Then, having arrived at Santiago — she makes a flash run into the Cathedral, hugs the saint, and runs out a back door to dodge the press and is whisked away to the airport for a flight to Madrid. She doesn't even stick around an hour, let alone a day or two, to SAVOR SANTIAGO — to savor the culmination, the purpose of the Camino. In the end, she was no pilgrim at all! Just a tourist on The Way, a tourist who rushed through, got a stamp, and ran out — not seeing a thing, not understanding a thing. <br/><br/>A very sad memoir for a woman who seems irredeemably beyond enlightenment in this lifetime, because her narcissism is too huge to allow anything else in. The book is like witnessing a car accident. It's a wreck. With no redeeming insights in the ned. Sad, sad, sad Shirley. She'll have to come again.

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Enjoyed it

What did you love best about The Camino?

Interesting listen - I'm VERY glad Shirley MacLaine read it, no one else could have pulled it off.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No favorites, all were enjoyable in their way

Which character – as performed by Shirley MacLaine – was your favorite?

Shirley of course!

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Great narrative by Shirley MacLaine

Read this book years ago,even better on Audible. I have listened to it x2 and will again !

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Loved it!

I love hearing this author read her works. My favorite parts were her experiences in Atlantis and Lemuria.

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Good book

I liked the book a lot but could have had less past life experiences, more about the Camino

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  • Asgaard
  • central illinois
  • 05-07-16

Disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I bought this book to live vicariously through another's inspirational hike. It was unfortunate for Shirley that she was hounded by the press. Shirley's descriptions of her hallucinations were disturbing and not at all thought provoking. She didn't describe how the hike changed her personally. I would have left out full descriptions of her hallucinations and focused more on what she saw and felt along the trail, the poverty, the kindness, the landscape, her physical challenges, etc.

Would you ever listen to anything by Shirley MacLaine again?

Yes.

Which scene was your favorite?

Shirley was walking along the trail and being an avid talker, it seems she couldn't handle the self-silence and started speaking to objects. She conversed with a stick and it agreed to be her walking companion, very funny.

Did The Camino inspire you to do anything?

Yes, find another book about hiking the Camino.

Any additional comments?

I love eccentric people, but Shirley's hallucinations were better left in the background, perhaps a couple of sentences describing how these were a result of a hard day's trek.

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Not at all what I expected...

This book was not at all what I expected and was very disappointing. I was expecting a story about Shirley MacLaine's pilgrimage on the Camino. She should have titled it "My Past Life as a BrownSkinned Moorish Girl". I will never buy one of her books again.

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She's off her rocker!

Shirley can't see to tell the difference between dream and reality. Not a good read. She also a bit trumped up about her stardom.