THE RETURN OF THE RAGPICKER by Og Mandino

THE RETURN OF THE RAGPICKER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

More than 15 years have passed since the ""ragpicker"" vanished from Chicago, leaving Mandino a set of principles on how to lead a more fulfilling life--principles that the author chronicled in a deadly earnest parable, The Greatest Miracle in the World. Mandino went on to achieve renown as an apostle of positive thinking in a series of simplistic texts (A Better Way to Live, 1989, etc.). Here, he again encounters the aging savior--who just happens to have a cozy backwoods cabin near Mandino's New Hampshire farmstead. The nonagenarian master and his pupil engage in less-than-Socratic dialogues that effectively allow the author to praise himself to the skies without seeming to blow his own horn. While quizzing the ragpicker on how careful a watch he kept during his physical absence, for example, Mandino is assured that 1983 ""was truly a vintage year for you, Mr. Og. You were awarded the first Napoleon Hill Gold Medal for literary achievement, and you also received the coveted CPAE Award from the National Speakers Association, which is the group's highest award for public speaking. Then in 1984, you became only the fourteenth individual inducted into the International Speakers Hall of Fame...."" When the expressions of mutual admiration finally run their course, it develops that the aged familiar has reappeared to ask Mandino to ""contribute some of [his] great talent"" to malting a ""stirring manifesto"" of the old pro's wisdom. Eager to collaborate, the author produces a brief miscellany of prayers under the heading, ""For the Rest of My Life...""--pietistic appeals that request help from a higher power for assistance in observing the golden rule, establishing goals, and otherwise becoming a genuine credit to the human race. Having completed this labor of love, Mandino learns (would you believe from a great blue heron?) that his spiritual mentor has shuffled off this mortal coil. Which, hopefully, means no further returns for a straw man whose sanctimony could give Christian faith, hope, and charity a very bad name.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1992
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Bantam