I panicked a little when I started to read this: it was instantly evident that the writer is very intelligent, well read, extraordinarily articulate and profound (and I confess I don’t even understand the title). I feared this was going to be rather highbrow; would I ‘get’ it and how on earth was I going to be able to review it when the author is clearly a good deal more astute than I? What we have here is a collection of essays on various topics by a man who was once in therapy, then turned to the profession himself to become a therapist; topics or reflections which are of profound significance to the author either because of his antipathy towards or passion for them. And quite a jamboree: actors, America, his children, his parents, his youth, his pain and personal discontent, Krishnamurti, Kazantzakis, the Holocaust, Jews, Jefferson…
I have to be honest and confess that I haven’t heard of Krishnamurti and Kazantzakis, nor am I particularly motivated to research them, so references to them did go over my head just a tad. The author, however, is clearly an adherent. Nevertheless, I found Freese’s writing fascinating and awe-worthy. What I found a little strange, however, was that he describes himself as a ‘private person’, but I thought the essays were quite soul-baring, which perpetuated a mystery through the whole reading experience: for whom was he writing, himself or the reader?
This is a book to be reread: there is a quality and depth to the writing which can’t be grasped instantly (but that may be my own inadequacy, of course). It is also one that can be ‘dipped’ into at intervals. I still haven’t been able to get it out of my head, and therefore, the author may be able to shout ‘Success!’.