Official Review: Gloria's Life Purpose by Sameer Zahr

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Miriam Molina
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Official Review: Gloria's Life Purpose by Sameer Zahr

Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Mar 2019, 23:40

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Gloria's Life Purpose" by Sameer Zahr.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Gloria Camino has always been different. In high school, she focused on her studies and had no time for trivialities or young romance. In her valedictory address, she exhorted her fellow graduates to dream big and to think positively. She went on to attend university at NYU. While waiting for her driver at the university gate one day, Gloria was abducted. The mastermind was a spurned suitor from high school. She was freed immediately as her wealthy and influential father was friends with the police chief and even hired a posse of private detectives to track her abductors. While in captivity, Gloria realized that she had a higher calling: “to serve humanity and teach fellow citizens how to live a better life, one that is full of peace and joy.” She wanted to be a nun.

It is clear that the author of Gloria’s Life Purpose, Sameer Zahr, is a spiritual (though not necessarily religious) person. The book has many parts where Gloria and her family and friends discuss traditional religion and modern spirituality. Her family members share their personal testimonies of how they found the right path. They are grateful to Gloria for showing them the way through her example. I like the solid relationships among the family members; this is every household’s dream.

Many conversations center on the law of attraction (also called the law of vibration) popularized in spiritual literature like The Secret. The author has some characters expounding on how traditional religion is stagnant; this has caused churches to lose their members to New Age alternatives. Those who are into these contemporary spiritual practices will find the book agreeable.

The book is advertised as a young-adult read. While Gloria is definitely a sterling example of an ideal young person (the story begins when she is 19 and ends when she is 25), I find her story much too perfect to be relatable to the majority of today’s youth. The major challenge that besieged her was the kidnapping which was resolved quickly and left her with nary a scratch. Barely 19, Gloria did major philanthropic work helping pregnant and abused teenage girls. Financial aid and logistics support were readily available from her father and their generous family friends. Any villains that entered the picture seemed halfhearted and were easily vanquished, thanks to Gloria's overwhelming confidence. Unless born with the proverbial silver spoon or lacking the inherent diffidence of youth, the young reader may be in for some serious eye-rolling.

The many long discourses among the characters also border on the unrealistic. They seem more suited for a discussion in a theology classroom, or a school-sponsored debate.

There are some romantic relationships featured in the book, and these are all chaste and pure. I have no issue with prudence, but I feel that it is taken to the extreme in the book. This is another factor that may turn off the typical young adult.

The book was generally easy to read as the author used simple vocabulary even for the “spiritual stuff.” However, grammar issues had me rereading several sentences. Careful editing is needed to rid the text of unnecessary words, wrong punctuation, and misnamed characters.

This book may be good for young adults who are part of a church ministry and those with a calling for a religious vocation. Fans of The Secret and the Abraham-Hicks phenomenon and students of quantum physics may also find it to their liking. However, the grammatical errors, the drawn-out conversations, and the utopian story make me take two stars away. I give the book 2 out of 4 stars.

******
Gloria's Life Purpose
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Post by Crazyreader01 » 23 Mar 2019, 07:13

Sounds like the author tried to merge two books into one and didn't really succeed. While I do like the idea, I don't think this is for me.
Thanks for the review! :tiphat:

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Post by Miriam Molina » 23 Mar 2019, 08:41

Crazyreader01 wrote:
23 Mar 2019, 07:13
Sounds like the author tried to merge two books into one and didn't really succeed. While I do like the idea, I don't think this is for me.
Thanks for the review! :tiphat:
Thanks for your comment. The author dreams of an ideal world. Don't we all?

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Post by IamShing » 23 Mar 2019, 09:51

Positive message from the author..Hails!
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 23 Mar 2019, 10:56

IamShing wrote:
23 Mar 2019, 09:51
Positive message from the author..Hails!
Very positive indeed. Thanks for visiting!

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Post by Nyambura Githui » 24 Mar 2019, 14:20

Wonderful review, but not my cup of tea. I'll skip this one.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 24 Mar 2019, 16:30

Nyambura Githui wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 14:20
Wonderful review, but not my cup of tea. I'll skip this one.
Thanks for the wonderful words.

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Post by Jessacardinal » 24 Mar 2019, 22:19

I am glad you point out the obvious issue with average teens having the ability to relate to someone who, outside of a traumatic abduction, did not have much financial struggle in life. Additionally, not everyone has access to a group of emotional supporters either. I do believe this book will resonate with some readers, but I agree with you. This book will not be material the majority can relate to.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 25 Mar 2019, 01:41

Jessacardinal wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 22:19
I am glad you point out the obvious issue with average teens having the ability to relate to someone who, outside of a traumatic abduction, did not have much financial struggle in life. Additionally, not everyone has access to a group of emotional supporters either. I do believe this book will resonate with some readers, but I agree with you. This book will not be material the majority can relate to.
Thanks for sharing your dollar (two cents aren't worth the same these days). The abduction happens right at the beginning; I feel it was included only as a way for Gloria to have time for reflection. That's the abduction's purpose.

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Post by kandscreeley » 25 Mar 2019, 08:12

I agree; I just don't think that young people would be able to relate to the author. I admire her for her spirituality and knowing what she wanted to do. Not everyone is like that at that age. I could see adults getting more out of this book, though. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 25 Mar 2019, 16:50

kandscreeley wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 08:12
I agree; I just don't think that young people would be able to relate to the author. I admire her for her spirituality and knowing what she wanted to do. Not everyone is like that at that age. I could see adults getting more out of this book, though. Thanks for the review.
I believe the author hopes to influence the young to walk the straight and narrow early in life.

Thanks for your input.

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Post by ayomie » 26 Mar 2019, 09:58

I dislike 'eye rolling' while reading my books, not to mention 'serious eye rolling.' Thanks for an honest review.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 26 Mar 2019, 16:11

ayomie wrote:
26 Mar 2019, 09:58
I dislike 'eye rolling' while reading my books, not to mention 'serious eye rolling.' Thanks for an honest review.
Well, my eyes needed the exercise. :roll: Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 28 Mar 2019, 04:44

You sum up the pros and cons excellently. From what you say, the kidnapping and villains were indeed too half-hearted to be life-changing. Though this can also make for cliches, it probably is in fact true that we develop character and compassion through tough experiences. Thanks for another thoughtful and honest review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 28 Mar 2019, 05:13

ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 04:44
You sum up the pros and cons excellently. From what you say, the kidnapping and villains were indeed too half-hearted to be life-changing. Though this can also make for cliches, it probably is in fact true that we develop character and compassion through tough experiences. Thanks for another thoughtful and honest review.
Thanks for sharing your insights, Alice! They are always profound. I agree that tough times toughen. I'm callused all over.

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