Crossings: Everyday People, Unexpected Events, and Life-Affirming Change

Richard A. Heckler, PH.D., Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-15-100341-9
Having explained in a prologue how a startling encounter with a delusional schizophrenic led him to appreciate ""that there exists levels of information and guidance that lay beneath consensual reality,"" Heckler proceeds to outline how people react when unexpected events change the course of their lives. By the third chapter, his narrative appears as more an assemblage of unrelated vignettes than a collection of well-integrated stories. Heckler suggests the following paradigm to explain psychological response to change: As individuals develop, they go through six phases. These are The Slumber, The Call, The Incubation, The Search for Meaning, The Leap and The Integration. To each of these stages, Heckler devotes a chapter full of stories from people who have overcome a major challenge. In anecdotes that are occasionally captivating but often long-winded, men and women detail how they have endured painful relationships, conquered stifling addictions or overcome inner turmoil. Patches of psychological analysis intermittently break up the stories, which are generally told in the subject's own words. But as the book progresses, especially in the chapter ""The Search for Meaning,"" the connections between stories become increasingly unclear. A report about a struggling musician toward the end, for example, has no apparent bearing on any of the subsequent or previous descriptions; nor does the tale effectively illustrate any of the stages of development described in the rest of the book. After brief digressions into mythical and religious implications of the book's stories, Heckler winds up with a rambling anecdote illustrative of his unsuccessful attempt to link unconnected stories into a coherent whole. BOMC and QPB selections; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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