Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: The Storyteller

The Storyteller
By: Sharon Tillotson

Summary via Amazon:
An ordinary human being finding her life purpose... With a little help from her soul...

Sarah is a Soul who is trying to guide Suzy along her path of rediscovering herself... Or is it redefining? Reinventing? Sarah thinks it might be better defined as remembering, but it's only Suzy who is concerned about the semantics. Sarah just wishes Suz would get on with it. A rather spirited Spirit, Sarah often finds herself rolling her eyes at Suzy's antics and the walls she has built up following the death of her husband. Sarah knows the body/mind/spirit energy who is currently housed in the human called Suzy has faced far more difficult challenges than the one she chose for this reincarnation. Storyteller is the most common role this body/mind/spirit has chosen for its human lives and Sarah chooses to tell the story of Suzy's spiritual awakening as it unfolds, interweaving compelling stories of past lives and how these individual energies accomplished their shifts in awareness.

There are three such interwoven stories beginning in 10,000 BC in Eastern Europe where a young apprentice storyteller named Luza is thrust into her awakening by the death of her mentor/shaman and a natural catastrophe.

The next story Sarah reveals takes us to 5000 BC and the American Southwest, into the life of Chu-Tze, a healer who milks snakes to aid in her treatment of children. Chu-Tze must overcome the unbearable loss of her husband and children and find a way to the ultimate forgiveness.

Sarah then tells the tale of Zhumbee, a prince in East Africa at the time of Jesus. Zhumbee's grandmother takes the prince on a journey to meet this mysterious prophet whose words he holds in his heart as he leads his city-state to its glory.

Suzy's journey takes the reader from the lush shores of Seattle to the deepest heart of Africa where humanity is said to have made its first appearance.

Quick Note:
Please keep in mind this review mainly covers the main story line rather than the three interwoven short stories. While I didn't care for the main story line, I greatly enjoyed the short stories.

The Storyteller is a new age tale about a middle aged woman seeking enlightenment through the trials placed before her. The protagonist, Suzy is a comfortably well off woman who lost her husband suddenly which triggers her to "rediscover" herself. What makes this book unique is its stretching of the first person point of view, Suzy is not the narrator, rather the story is told by her soul, Sarah. This view is both interesting and off putting. The reason I find this off putting is that although Suzy is herself, Sarah is her as well. What makes this even more confusing is that Suzy refers to her own soul as Sarah rather than as herself. Personally, my soul is me not separate from me so I wouldn't see it as separate from myself and I also wouldn't refer to it by another name. Once one gets past this disjointed concept, the view is very interesting. Sarah is experiencing Suzy's life along with her and they both share their differing thoughts throughout the story.

As we are reading about Suzy's story we get to read about her past lives through Sarah. Sarah interjects these to explain different concepts that Suzy is revisiting in her current incarnation. While these interjected stories are interesting and the motifs are mostly thematically correct, they cause a jump in view that derails Suzy's story. After the first story, Suzy's story barely recovers and before too long you have the second story. By the time I hit the third story, I didn't want to hear anymore from Suzy about her new age principles or love life. Overall the short stories were more interesting to me than the overarching story line. I think the author would have been better off releasing these as short stories rather than interjecting them into this book.

Suzy's story really only deserves a brief mention and thus that is all it will get. Her story was interesting in its span as she did travel from Seattle to the African bush but most of her "trials" seemed stilted and staged. Her characterization was flat and did not inspire me to sympathize with her after the first half of the book. I did however sympathize with the characters in the short stories as they felt more realistic. Her love life is a mess of on again off again relationships because she can't decide if she is into the men in her life or not.

What made this book impossible for me to finish (and I tried to force myself) were the huge errors in the continuity, poor grammar, flat characterization, slow pacing, and the disjointed storytelling. As far as I can understand the author, Sharon Tillotson was trying to convey as many new age concepts as she could while still telling a story. This made me not only disinterested, it annoyed me. I finally couldn't read anymore after finishing up to 85 percent of the book (according to my kindle). So this book rates a 0 for Did Not Finish because I didn't just lose interest. However if Ms. Tillotson were to release her short stories separately I would recommend those but they aren't worth the 5.95 this book is selling for on Amazon. I would buy it only if it went on sale. If you do see the short stories released in the future check them out they were very enjoyable.

1 comment:

Beth Negri said...

Chris "Bah'glenn" Negri said...
I'm not a very avid novel reader or reader in general, my "books" are typically limited to Graphic Novels & Comic Books. Both contain good writing and reeeally bad writing. I can tell a well written comic from a bad one based on how fast I want to get the next issue.

In the case of this novel, I can't offer any deep comments on it's content aside from what I've read above. It's not typically seen in most works to have one's soul be a separate entity, or at least have a separate name. The generally accepted view is our soul is our consciousness, not the consciousness of one of our past lives. If that were the case, where would it end? Exactly how many past lives does one have inside them & if that number was great enough, I could find it getting VERY crowded. I think it's definitely an interesting take on things, but not 100% something I get behind. It's like putting a cat in a dress & then dancing with them; something just

In closing, excellent review, very well thought out & concise.
September 22, 2013 at 1:46 PM