The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. More popular than The Bridges of Madison County, more philosophical than Socrates, and it rivals onlu R.L. Stein’s Fear Street series in bad writing. It’s a “novel of ideas” says Kenneth Moyle in his very critical essay “Why I Hate the Celestine Prophecy.”
“A novel of ideas;” that’s a good phrase for this “novel.” I read it twice during this assignment: the first time I thought he had great ideas and themes to live by; the second time I still thought he had great ideas, but a terrible way of presenting them. Moyle says “…for all intents and purposes, this is not a novel but rather a New-Age manifesto…” That just about sums it up. This is a great book for someone looking for direction and conflict resolution. However, if you’re looking for a book with depth and literary merit, you’d be better off with Danielle Steele.
First of all, Redfield’s characters are more two-dimentional and unbelieveable than Barbie paper dolls. “The characters…are featureless mouthpiecesfor the monotone authorial voice,” says Moyle. A major problem I had with reading The Celestine Prophecy was keeping track of who was who; the characters have little or no distinction between them, and it was a bit confusing because he keeps encountering the same people in different situations.
Another thig is Redfield repeats himself and the insights, and I’m assuming he does it on purpose but it gets monotonous. Moyle calls it “considerate,” but I think it’s just plain repetative. The only way I got complete understanding was to make notes and think about it a LONG TIME.
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown aside with great force,” says Dorothy Parker. I don’t feel that strongly about The Celestine Prophecy. “I think there is indeed something to this book,” as says Moyle. I think the insights may actually have something to them. I know that our energies (positive and negative) affect other people, things, and situations. The insights helped me put it into a clearer perspective. Another thing that helped me is the insight about control dramas. Although I don’t really see myself in any that Redfield talked about, I now realize that I do have one that I need to get out of. Despite the poor writing and chracterization, this book helped me to realize all of the love around me, and how to be a more positive person. I think Redfield’s ideas are great, but if he wanted to write an adventure, he should have gotten some help.