4 out of 4 stars
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There is power in perspective. Perspective is the basis for optical illusions, mind-bending puzzles, and even some forms of humor. Sometimes, learning to change or even just become conscious of one’s perspective can drastically alter one’s day-to-day life. This is the concept illustrated in Gregg Korrol’s book The Gifted Storyteller.
The story centers on the character Michael, who lives a satisfactory life, even if it seems a little bit bland at times. He professes near the beginning of the book to be largely content, but he starts noticing little ways that he is unhappy with his life. For example, when Michael is notified that his boss would like a meeting, Michael spends the interim time worrying about getting in trouble and losing his job only to find out that the boss merely wanted to compliment his work and challenge him with a new assignment. Michael also is shaken up by challenges in his personal life related to an aging family member. When small revelations start piling up, Michael realizes that something needs to change.
Enter Jeannie. The mysterious and aptly-named woman who first speaks with Michael at a bar begins teaching him a new way of viewing the world. Michael struggles for a while, but with practice and coaching, he starts being able to recognize old and new patterns of thinking. This opens up several new choices and opportunities in his personal life as well as in the workplace. For this reviewer, the fact that Michael struggled was especially impressive. Like most people, Michael didn’t learn the presented lessons in an instant. He had to work at it and practice, and he messed up quite a bit. This allows readers to accept their own struggles if they also attempt to adopt the book’s lessons.
The Gifted Storyteller doesn’t resemble a novel in the usual sense. Because there is a greater emphasis on the philosophical concept, elements like setting or secondary characters are less important. There is sufficient context that the story makes sense, but there are few details or embellishments. The overall feeling is that the story is more like a parable. It’s brief, and it was clearly designed to teach a manner of thought and lifestyle. There is no overt religious message, but there are a few instances in which religious concepts could be inferred from subtext.
As I read the book, I noticed no editing errors. The story moved quickly and was organized effectively. The philosophical ideas being communicated are complex, and at times, they seemed pretty unclear. By the end, though, clarity was achieved for both reader and character. Despite occasional moments of confusion, I decided that The Gifted Storyteller merits 4 out of 4 stars. Prospective readers should definitely take into account its genre. This isn’t a thriller or an adventure; it is philosophy with a tinge of spiritualism and perhaps an undercurrent of self-help. If that’s what you’re looking for, however, then Gregg Korrol’s book is certainly an excellent choice for a quick but thoughtful read.
The Gifted Storyteller
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