BOOK REVIEW: Defy Gravity Is A Big Miss for Author Caroline Myss
Posted Feb 05 2010 10:02am
2-Star Review by Karen Bentley, America’s Spiritual Reviewer
Defy Gravity screams “buy me,” but please consider resisting. Sure, this book has a compelling title, some A-list reviews, and a bestselling author, but Defy Gravity is a big disappointing miss for Caroline Myss. It’s definitely not worth the $24.95 I put on the line for a hardcover copy, and I wouldn’t bother with a cheaper Kindle version, either.
My review process typically involves a lot of underling. This helps me to capture the author’s points and writing voice so that I can tell you about them. Unfortunately, too many of the underlined passages in Defy Gravity were followed by what? Or why? Or huh? Some of this comes from Myss’ distracting writing style. For example, to make a point, Myss has the habit of introducing two or three competing ideas into a short writing space at one time. This makes it hard to focus on what she’s trying to say and to follow along with her. Also, instead of taking the time to fully develop her ideas, Myss often resorts to one-liners, barking “you must do this or that” commands at her readers, and tired clichés.
Who needs to hear, for example, that “what goes around comes around” is a universal truth? Hasn’t that already been said about a thousand times by others? And then there’s her reliance on vague new age speak. What does “you have to be willing to work with truths of cosmic proportions to accomplish such a profound transformation,” actually mean? This book is filled with similar phrases that sound big, transcendental and important but that are unclear.
The other major problem with this book is content, and this is the real killer, the real reason NOT to buy this book. Myss simply cannot stay on track and articulate how to actually defy gravity in a way that’s easily understandable and actionable for others. Even more specifically, here's exactly why Defy Gravity doesn’t work. First, Myss organizes the book into five truths. Then she talks about the seven shadow passions. Then she talks about the seven inner graces. Then she presents the four noble Buddhist truths. Then she introduces five mystical laws. Then she talks about the seven steps to defy illness. In between there’s talk about chakras and Buddha and Jesus, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and other so-called mystics like Abe Lincoln.
Oh my goodness, it’s all too much. Way too much. Have you ever gone into someone’s house who doesn’t know when to stop decorating, buying things or hoarding? It’s a mess, and that’s what it’s like to read this book. Nothing hooks your interest because there’s too much going on. Too many steps. Too many different voices. Too many schools of thought. Myss makes a mighty try to pull it all together, but ultimately Defy Gravity lacks cohesive sense and confuses the reader, at least it confused me.
I give Myss credit for her passion and for drawing attention to our very real potential to rise up and heal ourselves from every form of suffering and from the ever-present impulse to self-destruct. If, however, you’re genuinely interested in developing a miracle state of mind, you will find more concrete direction and inspiration from The Vortex by Hicks/Abraham or Left to Tell by Illigabiza.
Book Facts: Title: Defy Gravity Subtitle: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason Author: Caroline Myss Publisher: Hay House Copyright: 2009 ISBN 10: 1401922902