Reviews for Man Seeks God : My Flirtations With the Divine

Booklist Reviews 2011 November #2
*Starred Review* "Tell no one the way your mind travels," is a Nepal proverb author Weiner noticed on a sign while seeking God in Kathmandu. Thank God the New York Times best-selling author of The Geography of Bliss (2008) didn't heed this advice. Otherwise, Weiner would have never shared this hilarious, up-front-and-personal account of his "flirtations with the divine." What starts with a bad bout of gas that lands him in the hospital at the hands of a nurse who asks, "Have you found your God yet?" progresses to a personal and inviting communion with the all-knowing. That communion comes to include plenty of heartwarming accounts of people reaching out to share their religious practices and philosophies for Sufism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Wicca, and even a UFO-based religion. Throughout this marvelously entertaining journey, precious and universal truths emerge amid the churning of Weiner's self-consciousness intellect and self-deprecating sense of humor. Weiner manages to suspend disbelief long enough to share tales of divine wonders, a possibility in all of us. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #2
A peripatetic journalist and the author of The Geography of Bliss (2008) jets around the globe trying to find a religion that makes sense for him. Born a Jew (but no longer observing), Weiner received a recent medical scare and was startled by a nurse's question: "Have you found your God yet?" That question propelled the author in his search through a tiny fraction of the world's religions. Some of the groups he chose--Wiccans and Raelians, for example, the latter a UFO-based religion whose Las Vegas convention Weiner attended--seem choices based more on whimsy and sensationalism than a sincere response to the nurse's question. Still, Weiner is often an appealing tour guide, complaining throughout about the quality of the coffee, making fun of his efforts to whirl like a dervish, chiding himself for his inability to meditate, recording his fears when he walked down a city street or met a Wiccan named Black Cat and telling how he sneaked out of sessions for a drink. Weiner also samples some more conventional religions, like Buddhism and Taoism, and he lived with some Franciscans at a shelter in the South Bronx. The author even explores shamanism at a remote Maryland location, though he confesses a discomfort with polytheism. Weiner ends his quest in Israel, where he studied Kabbalah with a variety of teachers. The author's conclusion--find what works for you--is hardly novel, and the tone and diction are informal and self-deprecating but sometimes clichéd. A mixture of sincerity, sensationalism and irony that alternately delights, informs and annoys. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 July #1

A former correspondent for NPR and the New York Times who has reported from more than three dozen countries, Weiner put that travel experience to good use after he had a health scare and decided that a spiritual quest was in order. Brushing aside his carelessly assumed atheism, he whirled with dervishes in Turkey, bent over the Kabbalah in Israel, and breathed slowly with Tibetan monks in Nepal while asking himself questions large and small (Where do we come from? Where do our socks go?). Weiner's The Geography of Bliss was a best seller; this should follow suit. With a five-city tour.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 January #1

Weiner (former correspondent, NPR; The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World) is noted for his self-confessed status as a grump as well as his understated but consistent humor and wit. These qualities do not fail him in this memoir of his personal quest for a faith that will give meaning to his life and answer some of his questions, a journey that includes Tibetan Buddhists, the dervishes of Konya, Kabbalah, and a visit with the Raelians. Weiner ends almost where he began, with a God reminiscent mostly of the Judaism to which Weiner was born along with bits of the traditions he has since studied. VERDICT Weiner's memoir is one of the best and most readable spiritual autobiographies of the last few years, worthwhile for a broad ranger of readers and spiritual seekers. [See Prepub Alert, 6/13/11.]

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #2

Former NPR reporter Weiner (The Geography of Bliss) turns his journalistic and travel-writing skills to the terrain of the inner life in this ironic, informative, if somewhat flat, spirituality memoir. A more-or-less agnostic cultural Jew, Weiner decides in midlife to get serious about investigating God--is there a God, and if so what is God like? To answer these questions, the author travels around the world, apprenticing himself (briefly) to teachers and practitioners of eight different religious traditions, from Sufism to shamanism. He reads Rumi in Istanbul and takes a mikvah dip in Tzfat, Israel. Franciscans bring him along to an antiabortion protest, and Jamie, a witch in the Pacific northwest, helps him crash a coven and sends him stern e-mail telling him to address his chronic depression. Winsome, self-deprecating humor marks every page. But the spiritual takeaways Weiner offers feel a bit thin--as when, at the end of his time in Nepal, he concludes that the fleetingness of an experience (be that experience life or breakfast) makes the moment not "less sweet," but "more. Definitely more." (Dec. 5)

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