HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN IT'S GOD? by Dan Wakefield


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This entertaining sequel continues the religious transformations Wakefield recounted in 1988’s Returning: A Spiritual Journey. The trouble he encounters is that transformations have an annoying impermanence. What happens when those mountaintop spiritual moments dissipate into the realities of daily life—when we once again succumb to our insecurities and doubts after experiencing the Divine Presence? In his funny, self-abnegating way, Wakefield tells how this happened to him. An on-again, off-again screenwriter who was almost demolished by Hollywood, Wakefield returns to Tinseltown sober, thin, and healthy, having spent over $30,000 for psychoanalysis. He thinks he’s been cured by prayer and Freudian insights, but his old demons start returning once he sees palm trees. Safe back in Boston, he experiments with est, an empowerment seminar that his friends warn him is a cult. He has a terrific epiphany the first weekend, but when he and his much-younger girlfriend sign up for the advanced “boot camp,” they are ridiculed all week by their commandant-like leader (Wakefield’s lesson in that chapter is that spiritual gurus can be devastating if we rely upon them too heavily for our own enlightenment). Down-to-earth, humorous, and confessional anecdotes about the confusing absence of magical answers for the quotidian spiritual life. (One Spirit Book Club selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1999
ISBN: 0-316-91778-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999


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