Shanti Ananda,
Conversations with My Dark Side
(New Falcon, 1997)

Conversations with My Dark Side takes a series of internal conversations and places them in context by also showing what is happening externally at the same time. As such, the book is very autobiographical. Shanti Ananda deserves credit for how much she tells and how well she tells it.

The book takes you through part of an internal journey. It uses conversations to show the changes in relationships. The main dialogue is between the narrator of the book and her darker half. But you also see some changes in how she interacts with her spouse, children, peers and herself. And the two sets of dialogues impact each other.

You are shown glimpses into the narrator's life and the lives of those around her. And while the names and some of the details have been changed, the narrative rings true. It is the author's life, it seems, as much as it is the narrator's life (assuming the two are not one and the same). This is what makes the book work: it is honest, brutally so at times, showing her fears, doubts and so forth. But it also shows her hopes and dreams.

This is not to say that there are no answers to be found in the book. There are answers, and it may be that some of them are the ones you are looking for. Or it may be that her answers will point you in the direction you need to go. But the answers shown in the book are hers, for her questions. Keep that in mind as you may disagree with them as well.

Conversations with My Dark Side is worth reading just by virtue of its honesty. It shows you into the inner recesses of the narrator's mind and let you see through her eyes. If you find answers you need, so much the better.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 13 July 2002

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