I had a lot of respect for Gary Machan, and now, after reading Tears Of Sorrow, Tears Of Joy I have even more. Afterall, he’s a social worker working on the front lines, in inner city Barrie, though I first heard him present the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, an inclusive proposal to replace the limited GDP as a measure of our national well-being. In his book he courageously presents his beliefs that sustain in his work. But as a writer I was at first distracted by his style, which I eventually found repetitive and tiresome.
One per paragraph.
Also, within this distracting style, he uses metaphors almost exclusively (rather than a mixture of metaphors, similes, and simple description).
Furthermore, I found this style comes across as immodest and demonstrative, not humble and suggestive. Maybe that says more about me than about his style, that I don’t like to be told what to do. Ironically, I wanted definitive answers and not mere suggestions. Once I began, however, to treat this style as poetry-like, I could concentrate on the content, which is very rich in this deceptively short book.
He contends that an outward transformation, like we would like to see happen in the world, depends on an inward transformation of your self, and he offers this path, bathed with tears of sorrow and tears of joy. He discounts both reincarnation and atheism. He also is wary of organized religion. He himself was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but now professes no denomination, though he maintains that he stays within Judeo-Christian beliefs. However, the subtitle of his book, A Companion Guide For Followers Of The Way, alludes to the Tao. Perhaps searching for the Way is universal.