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Customer Review

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch Those Expectations!, January 3, 2014
This review is from: What If . . .: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure (Hardcover)
People who do not like to think deeply, or use their imaginations, or stray from the 'norm,' or think outside the box will probably not appreciate Shirley's new book, "What If . . . " But if you're the type of person who loves to explore new ideas, put intellectual puzzle pieces side by side and compare them, try to figure out the larger picture, speculate on meanings and causes, then you will have a good time with "What If . . ."

MacLaine's new book is almost a compendium of what many free thinking advanced souls are ruminating about within themselves and with their friends. She runs the gamut from politics to alien DNA, carries on regarding the Founding Fathers and Downton Abbey, references an overview of past lives and life being "show business,", dwells on the spirituality of animals and the purpose of UFO's. In fact, this book could be the newest entry in adult party games for the intellectually brave and curious. You'd all gather around and then choose a page at random and read the "What if . . ." that's on it. Discussion ensues! Fun! Also involving -- and everyone would learn something and feel exhilarated. Laughter would abound except for those who would take it all so seriously. But isn't that always the way with life and party games?

One of my favorite parts was where she gave 140 definitions of "love." Some were hilarious; others profound. A few made you cry. But a brilliant chapter. Her comments on "hope" are illuminating -- and poignant in their way. And who knew the Dalai Lama had a dirty mouth? She drums up some good possibilities as to why we all seem to be losing our memories, but ignores what, to me, is the most likely culprit: the world is now so polluted that it has to be affecting the one organ that uses most of the nutrients we take in: the brain. I don't think her advocating for cynicism would hold up, spiritually. I get her point, but if we create our own reality cynicism would not be our friend. Likewise, I wish she would question her need to destroy us all with some planetary cataclysm, or make us 'victims' of an extraterrestrial race. As Seth says, "You get what you concentrate on. There is no other main rule."

I found it discouraging to read some reviews that complained because Shirley didn't "dish" as they wanted her to, or tell stories, anecdotes (there are a few of these, actually) or get real personal (which she also did a time or two). These people obviously had rock hard expectations that were not going to be met by this book. So they turned away, called it "boring" or "just thoughts" (what else is there??). In the process they lost a good deal of wonderful mind-stuff to play with and learn from. But maybe they couldn't have handled it in the first place. Here's YOUR test: If you've read two or more reviews of this book, you can definitely handle it! You've got the mind and curiosity to follow each page down to the ground and up to the heights.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 2, 2014 9:05:39 AM PDT
M.C.M. says:
I'm glad you mentioned Shirley's discussion of hope vs. despair (why hope is not a virtue, in her opinion) as being a particular highlight. To me, that part is worth the price of the book! Very thought-provoking - can living in hope make us too passive and actually obscure our true potential. Something to ponder.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2014 3:38:50 PM PDT
Zoeeagleeye says:
M.C.M -- I think you've got it about hope, saying it might "make us too passive and actually obscure our true potential." Hope is what many people do instead of act. Hope can also be a cover for fear. There's a big difference between hope and knowing, something I've struggled with myself. The "winners" in the game of life are the ones who "know" they are going to win -- no matter what. On the other hand, I guess hope is a necessary footstool for some to help them reach higher.

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 5:31:06 AM PST
I love speculation......we certainly were not there

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 5:47:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2015 6:03:14 AM PST
Now that I think about it Artist's are misunderstood. a deep thinker...George Harrison....Imagine ...John Lennon....outside the box.....The Beatles 1964....people saw rock and roll..I 'm sorry to tell you John people are still at war .... Listening is rare people dare to think ...Shirley says it all....Bravo

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2015 10:22:44 AM PST
Zoeeagleeye says:
Good comment, Rosemary. But I wonder if people are not at war less than they used to be? And even today, some 40 years later people are willing to listen to Lennon's "Imagine," and be moved by it. So something positive is hanging on by its very teeth. Or am I too hopeful? :)
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