THE SECRET OF THE SHADOW: The Power of Owning Your Whole Story

Debbie Ford, Author . Harper San Francisco $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-251782-1

In her latest book, the author of the bestselling The Dark Side of the Light Chasers decries that so many people have spent so much money in an attempt to gain deep inner peace—to no avail. Presumably, Ford considers this treacly volume will be money well spent: employing stories both from her unhappy past and from the lives of people she counsels in her workshops at the Chopra Center for Well Being, she illustrates the steps she claims will lead a person to discover his or her "Divine truth." What initially sounds like the final answer in self-help books is in fact a sincere but cloying mix of Ford's spiritual views and suggested exercises that are all too familiar to dedicated soul-searchers. Incorporating perspectives from various religions, 12-step programs and pop psychology, Ford's advice urges readers to stop blaming other people for their own problems, take responsibility for their own actions and make amends to balance their "karmic scales." The final lesson here is that everything that happens is a blessing, no matter how painful or difficult it may be. Ford advises readers to "step outside" their stories—the limited and limiting meanings they have given to events in their lives—and to instead realize that they are "Divine" beings with a unique purpose in life and contribution to make. She makes it sound easy—and therein lies the problem. (Jan.)

Forecast:Ford's previous book, Spiritual Divorce, focused on applying her tenets in specific ways to a specific experience. While her relative fame will guarantee sales, this latest volume offers little more than the well-worn edict to find something good in all "bad" experiences.

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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