4 out of 4 stars
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The Dream by Chris Taylor chronicles the author's experiences with plant medicines after modern medicine was unable to cure his pancreatic attacks. He travels to Peru to be a part of an Ayahuasca and a San Pedro ceremony, experiences peyote as a part of a Mexican retreat about conscious dreaming, and uses a distilled form of marijuana when recovering from a mysterious tumor. Regardless of whether or not you believe in the effectiveness of these plants as curatives, his experiences communing with what he sees as the spirits of these plants and nature itself are quite powerful.
Taylor doesn't completely dismiss modern medicine in The Dream; he instead portrays it as only a single part of being a healthy person and places physical health alongside spiritual and mental health. I appreciated this sentiment, as it doesn't isolate those of us who are not quite ready to rely entirely on plant remedies for wellness. Even if you don't believe in the effectiveness of plant remedies, the incredible places that Taylor experienced make this book still worth reading. The way he describes the grand vistas and settlements of Peru and the wide-open deserts of Mexico is immersive and captivating.
I especially liked the emphasis on the people the author met along the way. It's clear that he holds the people who introduced him to plant medicines, such as the medicine men in Peru, in extremely high regard. At the start of the novel, Taylor was struggling immensely with his personal health. His incredible progress by the end of the book is inspiring, and it's clear that the ordeal gave him a new love of life, something we could all learn from.
The book is generally well-edited. Though there were some un-hyphenated compound adjectives, this was not too distracting while reading. However, it was rather distracting that the chapters varied so dramatically in length. One chapter took me almost an hour to read, while another chapter took about ten minutes. This didn't ruin the book for me, it just made it a bit difficult to partition my reading time evenly.
Ultimately, I rate The Dream 4 out of 4 stars. It goes without saying that if you aren't open to the spiritual concepts that folk healing revolves around, you shouldn't read this book. If you're at least receptive to these ideas, and especially if you're interested in other cultures, reading The Dream would be a great choice. There's also a distinct lack of sexual content, making the book also appropriate for younger audiences.
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