In a mixed bag of introspective insights and navel-gazing, Grosso tells the story of how he finally entered recovery after years of drug and alcohol abuse, which set him on the path of investigating his spiritual side far outside of organized religion.
It’s a bit like mid-1990s MTV meets New-Age mysticism, and they have a tattooed hipster baby. To give the author credit, it sounds like he was truly messed up before he got his act together, and his explorations may appeal to Daily Show viewers who feel like they need a shot of new-time religion. The book is composed of short, easily consumed chapters kicked off with quotes from usual suspects like Hunter S. Thompson, Aldous Huxley and Charles Bukowski and carrying titles like “The Tao of Checking Yourself” and “Jesus, Hitler, Bieber, Slayer & God.” It’s a collection that’s likely to cause mixed reactions, much like the work of journalist Neal Pollack, who retired from his own celebrated superstardom to study yoga—at which Grosso makes a few good-natured swipes (the yoga, not Pollack). There are good moments, like the way Grosso describes reaching a state of meditative bliss during an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. How you feel about the pseudo-advice in lines like, “You were born to be real, not to be perfect,” will probably depend on your own spiritual sense of well-being at the time, though more cynical readers are likely to raise an eyebrow or two here and there. That’s even truer of Grosso’s postmodern experiences, littered with self-promotional links, like discovering the meaning of life while scrolling Facebook. For the record, the meaning of life is “Be cool” and “Don’t be an asshole.”
It’s an artifice, sure, but compared to nonsense like The Secret, indie spiritualism has a lot going for it—maybe even some actual sincerity.