I recently was offered the opportunity to review the book Thinking Wild, Its Gift of Insight: a way to make peace with my shadow for Red Wheel/Weiser.
Thinking Wild is a fascinating look into the mind of the author as he explores the symbolism and metaphor of Nature as it relates to the human mind. Written in style reminiscent of the stream of consciousness writing of Sylvia Plath or Toni Morrison it tells the story of a man searching through his own life and experience to better understand the human heart and more, the human experience. In many places it reads more like poetry than prose, and like reading Dylan Thomas or James Joyce, the reader can't try to find meaning in each line, but rather has to step back and take each section as a whole and let it speak for itself.
I found the book initially difficult to get into as the author packs a lot of deep introspection into each page and at times the sheer amount of it is overwhelming, so I finally broke it down and began reading a small section each day which worked better. The material really needs some time to be digested as it is read, rather than being rushed through. At times I found myself in full agreement with the author, at other points I could not have disagreed more, but I was always intrigued by what he was saying and how he was choosing to say it.
The book has value, I think, in that it challenges us all to look at our own lives and values in a new context. We all live in poetry and in art, in savagery and in brutal truth, side by side and without contradiction, but rarely do we acknowledge it the way Thinking Wild does. It offers us all a chance to shift our viewpoint and open up to a new perspective.