Saturday, January 4, 2014

book review: love for the soul

In Spring 2013, I met someone on Facebook named Angel-Rose Coen.  Our interaction was limited to a handful of moments / mini-conversations.  It was ultimately decided that we were personally incompatible with our approach to friendship and communication.  There was no massive blow-up, no storm of an argument, no angry words exchanged.  She suggested we "disengage" so I wished her well and "unfriended" her.  These were literally my last words to her:

I value relationships full of love and support (it's vital), but my closest, long-term friends are ones where we can speak our personal truths openly even if we express a different view from the other. They bring me an emotional ease, but we do not always echo each other intellectually, spiritually, etc. It's a lesson that the Universe has given me in a way to accept my own Voice and light: be with people that let you be heard (and hear them too); be kind, but speak and share and be. So, I respectfully understand that we have different needs in friendship. Wishing you all the best!

During that time, she had been working on a book.  Even though we didn't ultimately mesh, we were in no way spiritually opposite.  I was looking forward to reading her book, contributing in a small way to its financial success, and hopefully gaining something important from it at a spiritual level.  

Fast forward.  I was a bit surprised that it was marketed as something revolutionary new ("Here, for the first time in human history, is a spiritual manual...")  Also?  It was mentioned in the pre-release reviews and author bios (and in the book itself, I later discovered) that: "Angel Rose's journey and uniquely clear Divine connection have been compared to that of Buddha, Jesus, and Martin Luther King Jr. while her life's work as an angel of hope on Earth is meant to spark the spiritual revolution of our time."  While there are indeed people who exhibit what is deemed Christ-consciousness, I've found it woven with a lot of humility and people don't tend to... advertise it.  Also, THE spiritual revolution of our time?  Pretty strong words. 

The book was released in December.  I put aside any reservations and went back to the place of excitement about seeing what it was all about.  I paid the higher-than-average $22 kindle price.  I went into it with an open mind and heart.  I had no ill-intentions toward the author.

The book is presented as a 26 week course.  It states that some people will choose to follow that, others will go faster, others slower.  I have enough discernment that I choose to read through such things first, then decide whether or not I want to incorporate the messages thoroughly by going back more slowly.  Even still, I didn't skim the book.  I read it carefully over the span of several days.

At one point during, Ry asked me how I liked it.  I told him that it wasn't really working for me, but that I hoped it would somehow pull itself up to a 4 or 5 star review in the end.  It didn't.

So I left a 3 star review.  I tried to be as polite as I could while still expressing my feelings and experiences of the book.  On December 16th, I posted this review to amazon:

 Love for the Soul by Angel-Rose Coen

This book is well intended. I can tell the author truly wants people to have a fulfilling path that's not plagued with hardships. Having said that, I think there are some points to know before reading.

1. I initially found it unclear (via the descriptions and early chapters) on how the book would go about healing. The book description states, "Here, for the first time in human history, is a spiritual manual beyond religion that infuses Divine magic and healing into every word..." So is it a book or is it more? More than absolutely any other book? Is it almost like distant healing is woven into the words? In chapter 21 of the book, the author says, "Q: Is this book, Love for the Soul, considered one of your healing modalities? A: Yes! But instead of my taking care of most of the details of the healing session as with many of my other modalities, Love for the Soul puts healing power into your own hands. (...) I do a full-service version of this book in a single two-hour session through my practice..." My conclusion is that it is indeed a book just like all self-help and spiritual manuals are books. They have magic in them (which could then be called a modality) because the authors were guided when writing them, and they can propel people toward change. This doesn't make it lesser, but it wasn't clear to me initially.

2. The topics explored in this book are not new. These are concepts that have been around for the ages, that modern spiritual movements have (re)grasped and produced a lot of books about in order to guide people. Not all concepts have to be new to be usefully presented and happily received of course. Sometimes one author's voice will speak and reach certain people better than others. If the reader is down and looking for a life-line, if they've never picked up much in the way of spiritual books before, etc, then these concepts may be fresh and awakening. If the reader isn't new to healing and reflection, they are going to be more like a reminder. We're talking about things like joyfulness, gratitude, oneness, manifestation, affirmations / letters with God.

3. The writing style is kind of meandering and wordy, with plenty of analogies and scattered contradictions. The chapters sometimes blur together because the topics can be so similar. (When you have distinct chapters on joyfulness, perspective, and optimism, well...) The author has underwent some intensive experiences in her life, but many of the personal examples in the book are very light (say, airport frustration). This writing style will likely work for some people and not others.

4. While it may not be intended, there is a touch of energy... elitism? Aside from God praising the author more than once (okay, so God is proud, I get it!), there were moments when I was surprised. When talking about the clairs, the author states that clear knowing is the highest and that's where she's at. I don't believe one type of God-connection is better than another. We all have unique personalities, comforts, preferences, gifts to share with the world after all. It is also stated, "When you hear loving or inspirational messages from another source, such as a friend, loved one, stranger, billboard sign, or anything else that strikes a chord with you, please remember sometimes he can't reach you directly due to blockages so sends messengers." I don't believe we can assume that someone is blocked simply because they receive those types of messages. Variety is exciting! It's being alive! It's being so tuned in that your spiritual perception is open even as you explore and live everyday human life! Also, I imagine not everyone wants an extra voice floating around. That's a choice, perhaps, but not so much a block from how I see it.

5. While there is no organized religion in this book, there are statements that have a strong religious flavor to them. There's a lot of talk about surrender and giving one's will over to God, for example. One instance of many: "It's (surrender) reclaiming God's help and giving Her authority to do just that. She knows what's best." (chapter 28)

None of the things I've mentioned above are negative if they resonate with the reader's perspective and approach to life. It didn't all resonate with me, but I appreciate the intention behind the book. There were parts that I quite enjoyed as a loving nudge and cocooned introspection, such as: "How can I live a more fully embraced existence?"
So, not a raving-happy review, but not a DO NOT READ THIS BOOK one either.  Right?  Right??  Much to my surprise (and later, a combination of anger-amusement-hurt), the author and one of her followers/clients felt the need to respond directly via review comments.  Though it's uncommon for an author to do that, I would have been okay if she/they had focused specifically on my review, objectively disputing the points I went over.

Instead, they chose to make statements against my personal integrity.  The author questioned my ethics for writing a review when I blocked her from facebook.  Wait... What?  I am NOT okay with having my personal integrity questioned, nor by the questioning being wrapped in untruths and self-righteousness.  She wrote quite a bit, but also went so far as to say, "I believe in awareness, respect, and personal responsibility. If you're ready to find God's version of those things too, the book can lead you there."


One of her followers / clients (who has received at least one private session with her, and they are priced at $1200 on her website) stated, "I'm very grateful that the author shed a little light on the authenticity of the person who wrote the first review." (And then proceeded with a few more paragraphs.)


I tried to reply calmly.  For example:

By releasing something to the world, an author has to be open to the fact that it will be amazing to some people and not so much for others. My review here was given with objectivity and from a place of kindness. I believe others who are curious have a right to know WHY it works for some people and not for others.

Angel-Rose and I did indeed interact on facebook, but it was minimal and over a very short span of time. No, we didn't become BFFs, but I left her with positive words, not rudeness. If having any prior contact with the author means that someone is bias, then all other current reviews would fall under that as well. It's a self-published book so many of the initial purchasers will have had direct contact with Angel-Rose at some point.

I absolutely went into this book with an open mind and heart. I am actively spiritual, an energy healer, and a happy-to-be-alive person! I would not have invested the time and money to read the book otherwise. I had been looking forward to reading it from back when I first found out it was in the works. Though it didn't resonate for me, I still wish it great success. 

And now, here I am, a few days later, still eeehhhh at how they treated me.  It doesn't matter, not really.  It's not that I specifically want their acceptance, but it's nice to have a basic level of respect with any human interactions.     

A big part of me wants to leave my review on amazon up because: 1) I have a right to share my voice.  2) It was written from a place of authenticity, and I personally like reading pros & cons of things.  3) Other people should know how the author and her followers respond to anything they perceive as... questioning the author's god-connection?  She didn't paint herself prettily with her words to me.  I was reviewing the book; she was reviewing... me!     

Ultimately though, I'm thinking of removing it.  Honestly, not as a kindness to the author, but as a kindness to myself.  I don't want to be energetically tangled up with that bunch.  Leaving my review up, receiving more comments from zealot followers, does keep me connected in some way.

I'll say this though:

I don't want anything else to do with this author, and I'll certainly never read any future books that she writes.

Also?  Pretty sure I'd get along with Jesus or Buddha a whole lot better. :D

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