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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: "Walking Through Illusion"

Several weeks back a kind author e-mailed me, mentioned that she had happened upon my blog, and asked if she could send me a book that she wrote so that I would read and review it. A few days ago I finished her book and am happy to be able to comply. The book is "Walking Through Illusion - Jesus Speaks of the People who Shared His Journey," by Betsy Otter Thompson, O Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd., UK, 2010. Betsy added in the front matter that the book was "An Emotional Biography."

As I settled in to read, at first I was not quite sure what to make of what I was reading, despite Betsy's preface, because this book is rather unusual in how it is set up. On rereading the preface after completing the book, I have to say that Betsy actually explained well what she was offering: "Walking through Illusion was written from my conviction that hearts are free to express from the depth to which they go. Jesus is the energy that comes through my conviction." Betsy goes on to say in the preface, "My particular gift forces me to acknowledge the physics of action/reaction and the power it wields emotionally in every part of my life." The author, herself, explains that, "Walking through Illusion is not the usual format for historical reenactments, but like any novel, it is the author's interpretation of possible emotions that might have been experienced. The gift is in the message, whether the history is taken literally or not."

Much of the book focuses on interesting conversation. The conversation is between Jesus and the author. The dialogue has a "channeled" quality to it. Much of the conversation speaks of relationships between Jesus and those who either knew him or knew of him. Included in each chapter, in addition to this conversation, is a "worksheet" where the author asks questions of the reader relating to what was discussed in the conversation. It was stressed that the reader be as honest about answering these questions...literally taking part in this "game"...as possible. Also included were additional questions to ponder. Thoughtful quotes by the author that were applicable to the conversation were added in bold. And finally, each chapter ends with the author's "Personal Insights," which really gave a me, as a reader, the satisfying sense that the author entrusted me with being told her most private of thoughts regarding the topic(s) discussed in the conversations between Jesus and she.

The names of the chapters, diverse topics all, are listed as follows: Reform, Gifts, Obstacles, Morality, Nourishment, Beliefs, Opinions, Approval, Fairness, Curiosity, Truth, Advice, Complaints, Acceptance, Hearts, Handicaps, Betrayal, Identities, Hatred, Memories, Confusion, Death, and Time. The end of the book includes where the author had researched in the New Testament and other sources, in order to provide context, historically and otherwise, to the conversations she had with Jesus. Betsy did stress that, "Walking through Illusion is not a supplement to another book; it's a supplement to the heart. It offers an emotional accounting of what might have been, not a historical accounting. But in an effort to bring the two together, the following research was done."

Once I understood the format of the book, I thoroughly looked forward to each subsequent chapter. The conversations were thought provoking, yet not difficult to understand. I enjoyed discovering the various Apostles and other people discussed in the Bible...folks I had learned about in many religious classes during my Roman Catholic upbringing...and pondering how Jesus might have related to them when he walked the earth or what he may have felt about them after he left the earth plane. As I read, over and over again I found statements that related to what I was thinking of or experiencing that very day. It's as if the book gave me just what I needed right when I needed it, bringing up a range of deep emotions.

The chapters are quite short and never once did I get bored with the reading. The book was hard to put down, yet I didn't want to rush through it. I wanted to experience all that was offered. I think the only thing I would suggest would be a different cover picture other than the orange, yellow, and white sunburst. The cover does not do justice to the richness that is offered inside of the book.

Thank you, Betsy, for sending me your truly excellent book and for asking me to review it. 'twas a pleasure.

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