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"Confused and directionless in a world where good things seem to happen to bad people, and bad things to good people," begins this fascinating meditation on the wisdom required to live a purposeful life! Most of the advice offered here arises from an unwillingness to see things the way they really are, and the Devil is out to set us straight!
Written with a tongue-in-cheek, funny style, the narrator Devil immediately tackles the largest enemy of peaceful living - fears and fantasies. The former are clearly recognized by everyone, but the latter advice calls for some honest self-examination. For instance, there are the lustful fantasies of both males and females that are followed by seeking the "perfect" spouse with whom one can live forever in "domestic harmony." When protesting with sentimental excuses, the Devil quickly cuts off the human for his "bumble-babble...If you begin to bore me with some bombastic Godly spiel, then I'll just lick my lips and chomp your head off." No arguing there...
The Devil even tackles some topics that one doesn't normally consider such as the power of laughter to heal the deepest wounds and help one cope with the toughest challenges like depression and illness. Again, the value of self-giving is mocked by our fiendish narrator. And wonder of wonders, "God and religion are not the same thing!" Add to that humans will never know the difference because they are so busy sucking up and competitively trying to complete their self-made plans!
There is so much more here to enjoy and to stop in order to truly meditate on what shouldn't be glossed over! Numerous quotes from writers of all cultural persuasions are spread throughout the text, making one realize that much research has gone into this work which offers a goldmine in its flip but potent style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.
Nicely done, Vishwa Prakash!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on January 30, 2010