A spiritual journey told by a thoughtful, questioning author who has experienced worldly success.

My Five Stones


California management consultant and minister Susan Daris Pohl writes her first book, a spiritual memoir.

Pohl grew up in a Southern Baptist community in Michigan where she witnessed tent revivals, parishioners talking in tongues and the ecstatic Brother Dew grabbing a deadly snake from a box. Revealing her story in flashforwards and flashbacks, Pohl has traveled an unusual road that has taken her from the corporate offices of Apple, where she worked in the early days of the company, to the Upaya Zen Center, where she meditated with Zen teacher Joan Hallifax, and then on to divinity studies and her work as a chaplain intern at FCI Dublin, a federal women’s prison. Throughout her life’s wanderings, she has been plagued by metaphysical questions: “Why was I here? Is there really an entity that we refer to as God? How much of religion is a myth…?" One of the most emotionally involving parts of this autobiography shows Pohl’s encounter with a magnetic but doomed adolescent girl, a cancer patient to whom she became a surrogate mother. At the crucial juncture when the author first meets the magical yet ill-fated Marisa, a critical text error takes away from the moment: “I saw a young girl who stuck her head around the door…and so began one of the s of my life.” Glitches aside, Pohl’s engaging memoir makes the reader grapple with age-old questions. The author’s clear, caring writing about her experiences with female convicts reveals their humanity. The sinuous, irritating former heroin addict Eileen continually reminded Pohl of her cruel and insane mother, and she evoked in the author the sense of inadequacy that had once cast a shadow across the author’s life. Pohl overcame her aversion, though, and saw how Eileen and her mother both ultimately elicited profound compassion. Faith, courage, kindness, service and love—these are the five stones that stand for the values upon which Pohl has based her life.

A spiritual journey told by a thoughtful, questioning author who has experienced worldly success.

Pub Date: April 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615724287

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Susan Darin Pohl

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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