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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 09/2020
  • 9781982250263
  • 152 pages
  • $30.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2020
  • 9781982250256
  • 152 pages
  • $12.99
Robert DeVinck
Author
The Ascension Within: Becoming Who We Already Are
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Idea: The idea of becoming a more grateful person that DeVinck perpetuates here, of becoming "good, not great," and of being empathetic, is valuable. DeVinck encourages readers to live in the present moment and believes that the answers to what matters lie within us.

Prose/Style: The author is an eloquent and talented writer who has clearly done extensive research.

Originality: Although expressed articulately, some of the ideas presented here are not entirely new. Still, many of the quest stories are inspiring and will strongly appeal to readers seeking solace.

Character Development/Execution: The reader truly gets to know the author on a personal level and several of the people whose lives and struggles he delineates.

Date Submitted: November 18, 2020

Reviews
Theistic rationalist and recovering addict DeVinck (The Pono Principle) offers a somewhat disjointed entreaty to look inward for stability and purpose. Drawing heavily on Christian ideas with some Buhddist inflections, he argues that finding God and truth requires not paths outward but a process of diving deep into oneself. Human differences are only on the surface, he emphasizes, and the world will be more harmonious if people find internal similarities. He builds on these ideas in six chapters each dedicated to a virtue—happiness, peace, goodness, purpose, confidence, and love—and punctuated with mandalalike illustrations that suit the genre.

DeVinck sprinkles in personal stories, from his basic training experience to a tourist trip to Vietnam and being aboard a cruise stuck at sea due to Covid-19. DeVinck parlays some of his darkest moments into powerful examples; he recounts that, for example, hitting rock bottom as an addict paved his way to productive introspection. Some other anecdotes, such as those of his time spent hobnobbing with David Bowie on a transatlantic ship or his friends and family’s long urging to publish his writing, seem included mostly to impress, but his agreeable tone carries the reader along.

This blend of philosophizing and ethical urgings will appeal to Christian-inclined readers who want a taste of mysticism. While the work lacks a clear throughline, each chapter makes its case well enough. DeVinck’s regular quoting of Jordan Peterson will alienate some readers, but those who don’t mind will find musings on timely questions, like how pandemic-related lockdowns might affect human connection long-term, and on perennial ideas such as the damage caused in relationships by needing to be right or how perception can limit our choices. Christian readers who want a personable guide to the long tradition of finding truth, purpose, and meaning by looking inside themselves will enjoy this work.

Takeaway: This introduction to Christian New Age thought is approachable and framed by personal anecdotes.

Great for fans of: Don Miguel Ruiz, Eckhart Tolle.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 09/2020
  • 9781982250263
  • 152 pages
  • $30.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2020
  • 9781982250256
  • 152 pages
  • $12.99

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