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Aura Camacho-Maas
Author, Illustrator, Translator
Uprooting Fear
A vivid, passionate, clear and cohesive study of introspection, fear, and personality. A journey guided by Spirit into an outwardly dimension through Shamanic, unique experiences of visions and mystic revelations. Beautiful images, passages even physical objects are metaphors for the life-force translating into the personality. In spite of the dark episodes that repeat themselves throughout the ages in the Story of Humanity, this book brings a message of love and hope, faith and trust, which is much needed in our times. "Uprooting Fear" challenges us as individuals to consider how we are doing – or perhaps more precisely – how we are being.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Idea: Camacho-Maas's childhood/adult lives and her social and mystical passions are intriguing and set the stage for a distinct narrative about her impressive life. Several important plot points only get a few sentences and resolve quite quickly, lacking a strong emotional resonance. The plot goes from Aura's abusive childhood to her work and spiritual awakening a bit too fast, without the needed segues to craft a cohesive story. This memoir is compelling in parts, but seems disjointed as a whole.

Prose/Style: Camacho-Maas writes with emotion and eloquence; her writing is especially impressive. Her abuse as a child and her mental health struggles are simply put, yet harrowing. The prose about mysticism and Spirit is powerful and articulate, too. The only part that seems out of place is the discussion of her nonprofit work. Here, imagery tells a story as opposed to the prose, which tells more than shows.

Originality: Camacho-Maas's journeys through her childhood, the natural world, and the mystical are intriguing to read about, yet a lack of cohesion in the middle of the memoir threatens to make readers lose interest in her ultimately uplifting story.

Character Development/Execution: Aura's personality is strong, passionate, and compelling. While she does create full characterizations of her mother and father, the lack of details about her husband and her siblings seems like a miss and lessens the emotional core of her growth as a spiritual person.

Date Submitted: January 30, 2021

Reviews
Camacho-Maas’s debut is a profoundly passionate memoir celebrating her discovery of spiritual strength and recognition of signs from the divine. Camacho-Maas begins with tracing her distressing early years in Bogotá, Colombia. Her father’s violence led her to construct an independent life at a rather young age. Once out in a world promising adventure, awareness, and freedom, Camacho-Maas took one faith-based step at a time, plunging into the arms of divinity and exploring the secrets of nature. In passages that are more exploratory than inspirational, she describes intense shamanistic experiences and details extensive paranormal encounters that helped her see and understand the portents all around her.

Camacho-Maas employs concise and effective writing as she shares earnest autobiographical accounts in episodic, intimate, and reflective observations that support her evolving intuitions and worldview. She sees fear as the basis of discord and discrimination in the world. Her easygoing sophistication makes the analysis of her revelations accessible while she probes the deeper meaning behind each experience. She does not shy away from discussing her mental health struggles, repressed anguish, and emotional burnouts with gentle sensitivity, seamlessly blending her interpersonal, psychological, and spiritual experiences in the later chapters.

Readers may be taken aback when the tone markedly shifts from sentimental to businesslike as Camacho-Maas describes her initial years founding her nonprofit agency, the Latin American Resource Center. The memoir subsequently loses some cohesion, and it takes a while to bring the reader back into the core subject. Fortunately, the included illustrations by children from a variety of backgrounds, part of a traveling exhibit Camacho-Maas coordinated through her work with international school systems, help to link her work with some of her more personal insights. Camacho-Maas’s lessons in the healing and dismantling of the self are profound and make her journey feel both mystical and wholesome.

Takeaway: This memoir of spiritual seeking is a perfect fit for readers looking for storytelling with a transcendental quality.

Great for fans of Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

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

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