Is it possible to be in control of your own destiny? If your body expresses disease, is it because your mind has planted it there? Can death become your best friend and teacher? Can miracles happen when least expected? These are the main questions explored in this story of revelation and spiritual awakening.
Middle-aged Hollywood screenwriter and producer Jonathan Vieren is at the lowest he’s ever been. On the same day his girlfriend dumps him, his best script gets ripped-off by a studio, he is forced to leave his much-loved hillside Malibu home, and he is diagnosed with cancer.
With the help of a hummingbird—his spirit guide and bird-totem—Jonathan embarks on a spiritual journey, or “skiing,” as the author calls it, that takes him through a series of lessons or “songs,” like The Gospel of Resolution, Embrace The Child In Everyone, Live The Moment, Gratitude, and Embrace The Holy Spirit In Everything, among several others.
At times poetic and adorned with beautiful imagery, at times overly embellished to the point of obtuseness, this is the kind of book that both delights and irritates. The main problems with the book, however, are the slow beginning—the plot begins to move at about page seventy, when Jonathan is diagnosed with cancer—and the inability of the protagonist to “jump off the page” and become real enough to affect the reader at an emotional level. In spite of his painful and even tragic predicament, Jonathan’s behavior, thoughts and actions don’t seem as genuinely human as the situation calls for.
Another disappointing aspect of the book is the dialogue between Jonathan and the hummingbird. For a spirit guide, the hummingbird doesn’t sound especially wise or clever, giving the impression that Jonathan is merely talking to himself.
Ultimately, the book deals with an important theme and has a valid message or lesson—to “Take joy in what you do, or surely what you do will take its toll”—but fails to deliver because of pitfalls in plot and characterization.