June 10, 2014

Let Down By "Living With a Wild God" by Barbara Ehrenreich

I’m a big fan of Ehrenreich. I like her reportage, and her social experiments, and her writing style. 

But I heard that this book was a little different, I thought I’d let it slide until I was personally recommended the book by Tim Noah (Author of the “Great Divergence,” check it out). He liked it and I liked his stuff, so I thought I would check it out.

I think my first instinct was right. This wasn’t for me. It is basically what I would call an intellectual biography, detailing the development of a bookish child. I can relate to that.

But there’s the thing that was emphasized. Ehrenrich is on my team, cheering for the big A, or so I thought. Here she details some sort of mystical experience she had when she was a teen and the life-long ramifications and search for just what happened to her (the world caught fire in a way that fire doesn’t burn – with spirit). For me, that part isn’t that interesting. I remember thinking that she should have just looked up her William James and moved on. 

She didn’t look up William James – until later. I don’t know. This thing just left me cold, and it felt unresolved. I kept creeping towards the last pages, and the answer to how she defined what happened was left in the air (unless I missed it, which is possible but doesn’t say much for your climax as an author). I can’t really recommend it. I don’t know who’d be interested in it.