EXPECT A MIRACLE by Dan Wakefield


The Miraculous Things that Happen to Ordinary People
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 Inspirational stories of the miraculous, assembled from a wide range of settings by journalist and novelist Wakefield (New York in the Fifties, 1992, etc.). Not so long ago, the author asserts, it was a solecism to think that miracles take place or that anything that could not be observed and measured was real. Wakefield contrasts these attitudes of his youth with today's fascination with psychic powers and readiness to see miracles everywhere. He quotes research on how medical procedures have been affected by prayer and introduces us to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist exponents of spiritual healing. Wakefield takes the position that ``miracles'' stand for the unexpected, even divine, possibilities that surround us every day and that will transform our lives if we only look for them. When he visits the famous Catholic shrines of Lourdes in France and Knock in Ireland, Wakefield finds a medical commission that performs careful evaluation of supposed miracles and an emphasis on personal, rather than bodily, healing; yet he also interviews a young mother who got up and walked in front of Mary's statue after being paralyzed with multiple sclerosis. A great many of his stories have no religious components and tell of such relatively ordinary occurrences as childbirth, escape from alcoholism, and chance meetings that changed lives. Wakefield provides a rather preachy commentary in which he is content to moralize, but he fails to address the vital questions that his stories inevitably raise, e.g., the relationship between the natural and the preternatural and the significant differences between the merely unexpected and the strictly miraculous. Lightweight and anecdotal exhortation meant to cultivate an attitude of wonder in daily life. ($40,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-069225-1
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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