4 out of 4 stars
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I began reading And Then I Met Margaret with a level of tentative skepticism but ended up reflecting on myself more than I had initially expected. The whole 'guru' aspect of the book made me brace myself for unrealistic idealism, but I'm happy to say that this wasn't the case at all.
Rob White structures his book chronologically so that we first get a sense of his background as a small-town mill boy. We're introduced to the first couple 'gurus' here, from White's aunt and uncle to a complete stranger. From here, White's curiosity and growing aspirations carry him away from small-town tradition and into the city before landing him seemingly objective success. However, in the face of financial and emotional turbulence, White continues to learn from other 'gurus' and, consequently, identifies his own flaws.
I like how the audience walks through these chapters as if they are besides White through his life journey. He narrates the book through a personable lens that exposes his inner turmoil, doubt, and ego. In the beginning, there is a nice balance between puerility and mature reflection. It's obvious that the goal of the book isn't to preach pure optimism; rather, all of these unique experiences (ranging from momentous to minute) build upon each other to add more "wholeness" to White's life. I also like how White mentions personal problems (superficiality and egotism), social ones (fitting in and societal expectations), and financial problems ($3 Million lost to a fault) instead of basing things purely off of emotional or economic issues. It adds a more complete image of individual growth that I could easily relate to.
In terms of format, I like how each chapter includes a personal "myth" that's replaced with "reality". It helped me mentally organize each guru with his or her respective lesson. It also gave me a point of reference to go off of so that I was better able to substantiate the lesson (sometimes I would read the chapter and get a gist of the "reality" but wouldn't be fully able to pinpoint it).
It's impossible not to reflect after reading this book. These lessons are things that many people go through, albeit not always in the form of an unabashed school girl or multi-million dollar investment. They are also things that made me realize I harbored a few of these inhibiting "myths". The harmony between entertainment and wisdom is prevalent throughout the book, laced with quips and dialogue sure to keep an audiences attention. It is an inspirational, well-written read which is why I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
And Then I Met Margaret
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