Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more, 29 Jun 2012
This review is from: Becoming Human (Paperback)
I admire and respect Jean Vanier and approached this book hoping to learn from his experiences. My first disappointment was the comparative dearth of stories. Those stories that were included were far too short. In what way were these individuals transformed? What were the significant steps in their lives? The person with intellectual disabilities that I know best has not, as far as I know, been ignored or mistreated in any way, and yet is sullen, withdrawn and often unkind.

I realise that the counter-argumentmight be that Jean Vanier is trying to distill all these experiences into a single summary. My second disappointment, however, was that the resulting summary (if that's what it is) generally delivers Vanier's ideas without development. They simply are what they are, with the occasional appeal to the New Testament, but more often to a universal human experience or wisdom. As a result, the book often felt dull and uninviting to read.

Lastly, the final chapter on forgiveness lacked the depth - and possibly the real world experience - of the rest of the book. The example of the Australian who doesn't like Germans because her grandfather was gassed in WW1 really grated. As the philosopher Al Murray would say: "get over it!" How many Germans did she meet every day in Australia!

I will give the book another go another time. Maybe it will be better on second reading.
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