too much bull
[note: I’ve been reading the English original]
The story: in 1994, American actress Shirley MacLaine, who is around sixty years old at the time, decides to walk the Camino de Santiago through Northern Spain.
Over the course of 30 days, she adds blisters to her feet, talks to people on the road, makes friends with other pilgrims and eventually gets into a chase with the media, causing her to walk the last bit exclusively at night. So far so good? Yes, and no.
not only bad
On the one hand, Shirley MacLaine’s journey feels much more real than that of Paulo Coelho, her terrible forerunner from Brazil. If you are looking for depictions of places along the Camino, you will probably not be too disappointed by this book. There is even a neat little map in it!
Another thing I enjoyed were MacLaine’s stories about some of the encounters on the road, and some of the details about her stardom and her private life, and how she deals with it all.
Shirley MacLaine – all about the chakras
On the other hand, though, a substantial part of this book revolves entirely around esoteric blabla, up to the point where it gets barely tolerable. I mean, spirituality is a great thing, but does that really mean we have to read about MacLaine’s dream visions from the Middle Ages, about Atlantis, aliens, guardian angels, etc.?
I don’t know about you, but my chakras were all like OMG LOLZ??
Despite all of this, I somehow managed to read the whole book. And I didn’t even skip the boring parts, even though I really wanted to. My verdict: Had MacLaine left out most of the esoteric junk, this one could have easily been a very nice read, but this way it’s just overburdened and obnoxious.
who might want to read this
MacLaine’s feat of walking the Camino de Santiago at her age is cool. Her storytelling could be good, had she not overburdened it with her esoteric mumbo jumbo. Her writing style is okayish. She provides some info about her experience of the Camino.
If you’re into Shirley MacLaine’s work as an actress, and if you don’t mind a hefty dose of over-the-top esotericism, then this book is for you. There are better books about the Camino, though.
Also read: Hape Kerkeling, for an awesome account of walking the Camino.