Top positive review
67 people found this helpful
Broad and deep, but don't expect Dillard to do all the work!
on July 20, 2006
This is my first Dillard book, after a failed attempt to read "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" at age 16. I am now 23; I have a very different worldview than I did at 16, and although I am still relatively young and inexperienced, and make no claims to be more intelligent or intellectually gifted than other reviewers, I must take issue with the two reviewers below who gave only one star. I love this book, and I believe two of my fellow reviewers have missed some important points. One Robert Michael accuses Dillard of providing "no analysis" of her "only one very general theme"; I say, he was expecting Dillard to do all the work for him, but her goal was to relate her musings and leave the detailed analysis to the reader. I find this a very effective and gratifying method: Dillard trusts her readers to come to their own conclusions, which may or may not match her conclusions from the thought trails she is following. Her observations are profound, unique, beautiful, and moving, and even more so when I let them take my mind on its own thoughtful journey.
Another reviewer, Hortensia "massageprop," accuses Dillard of "[assuming] that Jews and Christians have all the answers to fundamental questions about existence," but I am POSITIVE that Dillard's point is exactly the opposite: she finds little meaning in either, or in any organized religion, and is wondering how people have fooled themselves into finding so much meaning in these belief systems for so long, shutting themselves off from other modes of thought. She acknowledges that it is possible to find some meaning in religion, but no more meaning than in any other belief systems including nature worship, or atheistic or agnostic philosophy; further, she shows us that although it is impossible to ever completely satisfy our thirst for fulfillment and meaning, we would be shortchanging ourselves if we limited ourselves to only one belief system - they all deserve attention and exploration because each has unique gifts. All of Dillard's musings on religion seem to me filled with spirituality at a first glance of their thin surfaces, but are really meant to emphasize the emptiness beneath the façade of religious tradition and ritual. Each of these reviewers needs to take a second look at this book, and expect to do more work and listen a bit harder: Dillard's style is subtlety, and the extra work she requires from her reader leads to a much richer and more deeply meaningful reading experience.