Book Review: Devotion by Dani Shapiro

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour promotion.
Dani Shapiro is available and very enthusiastic about doing skype chats with book clubs.

My rating for Devotion – 3

“Devotion” by Dani Shapiro (Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog) is a memoir about the authors mid-life crisis and search for spirituality. The book provided a fascinating read into the mind of a woman that, it seemed to me, couldn’t find inner calm if it slapped her in the face.

Purchase “Devotion” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on:
Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

In “Devotion” by Dani Shapiro, writes in an absorbing style about her upbringing in an orthodox Jewish household, which is divided, much like the author, between an observant father and a resentful mother. As most of us do, Ms. Shapiro rebelled, started drinking and took on an ill-advised lover in the form of a friend’s stepfather. Her life were altered when her parents were involved in a car crush, her father tragically lost his life, her mother broke 80 bones.

Ms. Shapiro was harshly introduced to the fragility of life which seemingly became a quest for understanding what is sometimes impossible to comprehend.

The author describes to the reader, in an honest and lush prose, her search for spirituality through AA meetings, yoga, Buddhism, Judaism and more (I’m sure I forgot one or two). However, it seems that with all that searching and spiritualism the author fell into a dangerous trap – taking oneself far too seriously.

Ms. Shapiro’s spiritual journey is divided into short chapters, interweaving anecdotes from her past which gives the reader some background about present anxieties.

We have a saying in our family “rich people’s problems” – that is whenever someone complains about something trivial which only rich people, without daily monetary worries actually care about. Maybe things are going too well for Ms. Shapiro, she finally has a successful husband which she adores, a wonderful son, acclaim, a home in Connecticut and, looking at her picture, a youthful beauty many women would give their right arm to have.

So I don’t understand how she didn’t come out of her funk.

Believe it or not I found that I have several things in common with Ms. Shapiro – not the least which we both don’t consider ourselves believers, but we don’t consider ourselves non-believers either. Which is why I’m surprised the concept of Tikun Olam didn’t come up.

As Ms. Shapiro certainly knows one of the central tenants of Judaism is Tikun Olam (תיקון עולם‎) a concept of repairing the world. Meaning you should do things not because they are required, but because they help society and avoid chaos. Tikun Olam doesn’t necessarily refer to big, world changing acts, but small acts as well such as volunteering once in a while at a soup kitchen, fire brigade, or helping your elderly neighbor mow their lawn.
Almost like the “acts of random kindness” concept – those who tried either Tikun Olam or acts of random kindness can tell you what a spiritually lifting and rewarding feeling it is.

There are moments of wisdom in the book which are certainly worth the journey taken but at the end the author doesn’t find what she’s looking for… but maybe that’s the point.

Evaluating herself as mid-life approaches, author Dani Shapiro feels anxiety over which she has no control.  Looking at monumental personal events in her past makes her realize where some of that unease comes from.  Dani Shapiro does not consider herself religious but she is not a non-believer either and yearns to deepen her understanding of her personal sense of faith.  In her search Ms. Shapiro seeks out several different experiences which are complex as they are insightful


Purchase “Devotion” through the ManOfLaBook affiliate account on:
Amazon |Book Depository US | Book Depository UK

TLC Book Tour for “Devotion”:

Wednesday, February 9th: Kelly’s Lucky You!
Thursday, February 10th: Book Club Classics!
Monday, February 14th: {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife
Tuesday, February 15th: Books Lists Life
Wednesday, February 16th: nomadreader
Tuesday, February 22nd: Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, February 23rd: Colloquium
Thursday, February 24th: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Friday, February 25th: Books in the City
Monday, February 28th: English Major’s Junk Food
Tuesday, March 1st: she reads and reads
Tuesday, March 1st: The House of the Seven Tails
Wednesday, March 2nd: Boarding in My Forties
Thursday, March 3rd: Man of La Book
Tuesday, March 8th: Chefdruck Musings


Zohar – Man of la Book

BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read “Devotion”? If so link up your review below

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