cover image Spellbinder's Gift

Spellbinder's Gift

Og Mandino, Johnson. Fawcett Books, $18.5 (197pp) ISBN 978-0-449-90690-3

In this simplistic yet well-packaged contemporary parable, Mandino (The Twelfth Angel) returns with further inspirational advice for better living. When a wheelchair-bound preacher in Central Park shouts ``Do it now! You! You! Do it now!'' to retired booking agent Bart Manning during his morning jog, Manning finds himself inexplicably compelled to run toward his long-abandoned office near Times Square. There, Manning, once an exclusive agent for many of the world's top motivational speakers, decides to come out of retirement. In search of new talent to represent, he and his wife, Mary, attend a speaker's convention in Washington, D.C., where they are enraptured by 32-year-old Patrick Donne and his speech outlining steps to living a happier and more productive life. Soon after he begins to represent this ``spellbinder,'' Manning realizes that this man from Blessings, Mont., may be more than just an exceptional speaker. Although Mandino's characters have no more depth than his messages, which feature all the profundity of fortune-cookie sayings (``Go the extra mile!''; ``Never hide behind busy work''; ``Never allow anyone to rain on your parade''), his latest sentimental tale about miracles and the mysteries of life will no doubt find a readership. (Jan.)