Sunday, July 15, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Lifting the Wheel of Karma by Paul H. Magid

Release Date: March 25th, 2012
Publisher: Point Dume
Page Count: 186
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)

Joseph Connell is a gifted high school athlete from Montana, loved deeply by his family, yet tormented by nightmarish visions he can neither explain nor escape.

He believes the answer to what threatens to crush him can be found in the knowledge possessed by a mystical old wise man, who lives deep within the remote Himalayas of India.

If Joseph is ever to find the peace he so desperately seeks, he must get this wise old man to reveal what he truly knows, but that will not be easy... for this sage knows far more than he admits.
What Stephanie Thinks: I was anticipating to be preached and prodded at by this spiritual novel, but actually ended up being fascinated by it. Lifting the Wheel of Karma exceeded all of my expectations, to say the least, and I'm glad to have gotten the opportunity to give it a try.

In plot, it's a fairly simple book. The structure is direct and the end satisfying. It's also crisp and straightforward in style, with a bit of a charming tint to it, though it's nothing overly flowery. Very reminiscent of Mitch Albom. I had no trouble getting through this one, actually finished it pretty quickly.

Joseph suffers, or perhaps is blessed with, visions that have always set him apart from his peers. They're terrifying and so real, that he knows they aren't insignificant, but he has no clue what to do or how to go about them. He's a perfectly competent boy—a good brother and son and extremely talented martial artist—but all his life, he's been missing out on something. And when tragedy strikes, destroying every ability he's ever known, he finds out exactly what.

Lahiri, the old Indian man who's set out to help Joseph and get him back onto his feet, is a mystifying and intriguing character. From the beginning, I was kept wondering what he had to do with Joseph and how a frail, passive man like him could ever help Joseph conquer his demons. But as they develop their friendship and relationship as mentor and student, we discover the ways in which the two connect, and are startled that those bonds are not necessarily in our time and place.

Lifting the Wheel of Karma is heavy on spiritual emphasis, but it's in the form of fiction, an extended metaphor you could say. It teaches lessons on karma, dogma, and just humanity in general, without overly sermonizing or lecturing. I enjoyed both Magid's fast-moving prose and the otherworldly feel to the entire book. Highly engaging, awing, and thought-provoking, it's definitely the kind of inspirational literary fiction I'd love to see more of. Joseph's journey, I found, became my journey, which is a great accomplishment for a novel. The discoveries he made, I made on my own, and I can definitely say I learned a lot from his story of recovery and reflection as a whole.

Stephanie Loves: "'What chance has a boy got? The girl has all the cards,' he said.
Jen corrected him, 'No, the boy has all the cards. The girl just has all the chips.'
'Either way, it's a rigged game,' Joseph replied.