Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review #3: Have A Little Faith

I've only read two of Mitch Albom's books, the first being Tuesdays with Morrie, the second is the one I'm reviewing, Have a Little Faith. As the title suggests, this book touches on the act of having faith in a higher power and life's purpose. Albom was asked to do a eulogy for his rabbi and in a span of eight years, he discovered his faith which he found out he lost.

To be honest with you, I didn't feel any connection to this book. Miriam asked me what I thought of the book admist reading it, I quickly replied, "Not impressive". I didn't feel anything for the story but the strange thing was, when the story ended I cried a little. It's not that I'm comparing this book to Tuesdays with Morrie but with a sentence like "Not since Tuesdays with Morrie has any writer so movingly tackled the central questions in life" on the back of the book, you'd think it would be amazing. Unfortunately, for me, it's lacking.

I wonder if my not having a connection with this book is because I don't have much faith with God.. or any higher power. Sometimes I wonder what do I believe in. Do I believe in a divine power, or the Universe, or some scientific theory? Does this make me an atheist? But I don't entirely reject the existence of deities. I, sometimes, wonder why I'm praying to God when I question God's existence. (this deserves a separate post)

When we say "Thank God" and "Oh my God", do we really mean it? Frankly, it's just an expression I was conditioned to say. When you practice rituals and traditions your grandparents or parents ask you to do, why do you do it? I think we should only do such things if we truly believe in it. If you're wondering, I'm a Buddhist. I don't know much about being a Buddhist and I don't act like one, I'm one. I do pray occasionally and this is why it's so hard for me to figure it out.

When Pastor Henry received help from the community in fixing the heat and successfully garnered donations, he thanked God but without Albom's articles about the sad state of his church, help wouldn't come. So, don't you think it's what we, humans, do that bring about miracles?

Albom did touch on how Judaism and Christianity come together. That's nice to see. My heart did skip a beat when the rabbi died (it's obvious an ailing eighty-two-year-old will die, so this is not a spoiler!) because who doesn't get affected when a good and wise old man die?

There were, of course, parts of the book which strike you with its meaning. I liked when Albom explained why he lost faith and that is because of apathy, a lack of need. I dog-eared some of them (it's a library book, shhh):

"Be satisfied. Be grateful. For what you have. For the love you receive. And for what God has given you."

"With a little faith people can fix things and they can truly change because you could not believe otherwise."

There was a poem by Robert Browning Hamilton and I've never been so affected by a poem:

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way; 
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say. 

I wallked a mile with Sorrow. 
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me. 

Clever quotes and jokes shared between the characters in the book put aside, I find this book sort of empty. Looking forward to Five People You Meet in Heaven because apparently, it's the best. Have a Little Faith is a disappointment, unfortunately.

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