Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tribute Books: "Dianna's Way" by John Catenacci Book Review

Dianna is a young woman in her late 20’s when she meets John, a man in his late 40's. They fall in love and marry. A central feature of their life plan is to have one child to fulfill her fervent lifelong dream of being a mother.

Not to be.

Not long into their marriage, Dianna discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Hand in hand, they begin a 17 year spiritual journey into the nature of love and healing. Along the way, she discovers and fulfills her life purpose and, in the process, takes John by the hand, gently helping him to reveal, then fulfill, his own.

In the beginning, John, being much older, thought he would be her teacher but gradually discovers in the most important dimensions of life quite the opposite is true. With Dianna’s guidance, he ultimately discovers we are all teachers, we are all students and we are all one.

Theirs is a story of courage, determination and a lightness of being, as they descend into the deepest valleys of crushing disappointment, pain and suffering only to rise again to ever higher peaks of appreciation, gratitude and love. Throughout it all, their journey is laced with light and laughter.

Even today, after her passing, they continue their relationship, piercing the Illusion that veils this reality, exploring its limits while continuing a spiritual journey without end.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It is so tough when I review books that have their ups and downs.  This is a memoir, and it celebrates the life of a remarkable young woman through the eyes of a man who loved her so unconditionally.  Her struggle against cancer--more than once, I might add--is absolutely inspiring.  I honestly don't think I could have ever done all that she did, but I can only hope that I would face cancer as she did.  She is a testament to the strength of womankind.

I was touched by her husband's care for her during this time.  He did what I believe very few men would have done, and it must mean a lot to get those words down on paper.  The book definitely read like a memoir and often has quite raw emotion.  I was not terribly offended by the profanity--it wasn't too bad.  And although the issue of sex was touched upon, I am so grateful we did not go into their bedroom for those kinds of scenes!

My reasons for marking the book down just slightly is twofold.  I will admit that I found my interest waning from time to time throughout the book.  I didn't find myself terribly immersed in the writing style of the author, but that is not his fault. It is only a personal preference of mine.

My biggest issue lies in the astrology, religion, and psychic references.  I know that pointing these things out should not affect my view of the book, but the author did make these an integral part of the story--in fact, these ideas dominate the last section of the book.  I didn't see the point of these sections, and I grew tired of the syncretist ideas put forth in the book. I know this is merely a personal preference of mine, but this did impede my enjoyment of the book.  If this section and these references had been left out, I do believe that I would have enjoyed the book more.  However, when it comes to a cancer story told with heart, this is definitely a book I can recommend.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

John Catenacci's Bio: 
After spending his youth doing cement construction work while getting his education, John Catenacci earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He went on to work on the Apollo 11 Project as a member of the USAF in California, then  as an engineer for the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI, doing both process research as well as designing and building chemical plants.

Mid-career he became interested in group dynamics, leading to another 20-year career in team building that took him across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

With a sprinkling of published short stories and articles in small magazines along the way, his abiding passion has always been writing, something now coming to fruition in this, his first book.

Price: $16.95
Format: paperback
Pages: 365
Publisher: Spiritdogtalking
Release: December 14, 2012

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