I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Friday, October 10, 2008

SPIRIT MATTERS by Matthew J. Pallamary

Mystic Ink Publishing
Carlsbad, CA
Genre: Memoir
Rating: Exceptional
ISBN: 9781434318015, $21.99, 250 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"Spirit touches us in every moment of our existence; only most of us are caught up in the dramas that we have created in our lives, blinding us to a reality far greater than anything we can imagine with our rational minds.

"It is simply a matter of awareness.

"Though we often feel lost and abandoned in a cold and uncaring world, the truth is that we live in the illusion of our own self-created exile, away from the Source of our being which has never stopped loving us–unconditionally.

"The time has come to awaken and pass through the darkness of our fear induced slumber to embrace the light of truth, and find our way back to the infinite light of love that comes to us from the Source of all creation.

"Awareness is presence, which means being fully present, in the present, right here, right now, in this moment, standing in the light of truth, which is the greatest present anyone can receive.

"Matthew Pallamary’s SPIRIT MATTERS chronicles his life long search for truth, which took him from the false spirituality of a violent concrete jungle in an Irish Catholic ghetto in Boston, to the discovery of true spirituality in the jungles of the Amazon where he discovered the truth.

"Spirit DOES matter."

As a reviewer, I have read many memoirs–some written to give advice, educate, encourage, inspire...to help us through difficult times/problems, some to rant and some to rave. We all have a story to tell and with the help of POD publishers, many people have taken up the challenge write.

Matthew Pallamary’s Spirit Matters is one exceptional memoir (not POD) on many levels: 1) It is an honest accounting of his drug use throughout his life in search of new experiences, pushing the limit and ultimately leading to a truth for himself...a trip from selfishness to selflessness; 2) The story is a page-turner and informative; 3) Pallamary is an exceptional, educated writer with a smooth, appealing style. I particularly liked his succinct chapters.

There are many, many books out there about spiritual paths and how to raise ones consciousness. Most of these books are written with an attitude of teacher/student and a small degree of superiority or humorous self-deprecation. How delightful that this is not the case with Matthew Pallamary...how refreshing, how human, how honest.

I agree with Pallamary’s mother, when his writing was compared to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Matt’s is better. Allow me to share a few passages with you...one somewhat humorous (so I thought) and the other descriptive.

Page 217 - first day at Amazon jungle camp after the wasp attack:

"I was drenched with sweat after carrying our gear and getting settled in our tambos, so I decided to skinny dip in the tributary. While I was undressing at the water’s edge, a huge black ant bit into my foot. I slapped at him, knocking his body away, but his head remained clamped to my foot, still sucking. I swatted it away and still had to dig out its mandibles, which remained embedded in my flesh."

Page 221 - Jungle life:

"The only word that comes to mind to describe waking up in the rain forest is primeval. The jungle is never quiet. The continuous buzzing, calls, and chatter of inspects and animals fill the day and night, each with their own quality. The night is the loudest. You can find yourself awake in the total black of predawn and sense a subtle shift in the nature of the sounds around you. Though you can see nothing, you know by the shift that sunrise is approaching.

"As the new day dawned through rising jungle mists, the noise of the jungle’s night life drifted into the lower-energy buzz and hum of the day, punctuated by the crises of birds and animals that sounded sweeter, lighter, and less insistent than those of the night. What the life that fills the jungle day lacks compared to the volume of the night it makes up for with visual orchestra. Bugs of all shapes and sizes buzzed and crawled everywhere, as did the lizards. Birds, smaller animals, and bigger ones seen less frequently moved on the ground and in the trees. Hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, insects of all sizes, colors, and markings flitted in the sun, the most spectacular of them el morpho; a large iridescent, cobalt blue butterfly that flutters up and down the waterways."

Such a delightful surprise! Thanks, Matt, and may the spirit with be you.

Kaye Trout - October 10, 2008