Finding Anna

An Unusual Journey To Self-Discovery

Non-Fiction - Memoir
343 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Finding Anna: An Unusual Journey to Self-Discovery by Vineeth Vijayghosh is a powerful memoir that documents a young man’s journey to finding meaning. The story begins in a hotel in Germany. It is the first time the author is on his own and thoughts of nearing thirty without significant accomplishments assail him. It is then that Vanessa, the receptionist, comes in with his drink and he asks her what could have become of him without her. Her response wakes him up in a way: “You will always find someone like me wherever you go, sir.” That night, he makes up his mind to write his memoir, and to do so, he decides to travel the world in search of Anna. This book shares his journey with readers and in it, the author describes his experiences with the Anna in everyone’s life.

This memoir took me off guard. From the title, I’d surmised that the author would be writing about his adventures in search of a specific woman. It turned out that Anna has many faces and is the ordinary, familiar woman that most people encounter in life. The story has depth, written in a highly meditative style. It is interesting how the author creates links between the present and the past and how reflecting on each of the experiences in his travels allows him to understand where he comes from and who he is. Curiously, the travels lead to one destination: to the very heart of the traveler. I loved Vineeth Vijayghosh’s prose and the manner in which he writes the details of his story. His consciousness of life fills the pages and there is a humanity that rubs off easily on the reader. Finding Anna: An Unusual Journey to Self-Discovery is an interesting and inspiring story that entertains and prompts readers to ask questions about themselves and to bring value to their human encounters.

K.C. Finn

Finding Anna: An Unusual Journey To Self-Discovery is a work of non-fiction written in the style of a memoir by author Vineeth Vijayghosh. The narrative recounts the epic journey of the author when, at age thirty, he realizes he would like to do more with his life and begins a vast series of travels in order to better understand his own identity. As experiences in other countries and meeting other people reflect him back to his own roots and the pivotal people in his life, so his consciousness grows. In a unique turn of events, the author recounts the many Annas he met in different countries, and how their stories changed him too.

Author Vineeth Vijayghosh presents a truly heartfelt and unique memoir that anyone on a journey of self-discovery will surely be able to relate to and treasure. As a traveler myself, I found it really wonderful to see the author visit places that I have also been to, and even more delightful to be introduced to vistas that I have yet to visit. The noticing of small details of culture and personality in other people’s lives is a true joy of travel, and the author brings that enthusiasm to life with a well-penned and highly relatable narrative style. The personal moments in the memoir are very evocative because we are able to form a deep connection, and the author is generous with details from his personal life and the formation of his own identity so that we may better understand ourselves. Overall, I would recommend Finding Anna: An Unusual Journey To Self-Discovery as an engrossing but also empowering and educational memoir for anyone who feels they have not yet discovered their true identity in this life.

Foluso Falaye

On his journey to self-discovery, Vineeth Vijayghosh took a trip around the world to connect with people from different backgrounds and learn from their experiences and the environments they grew up in. Every Anna he met left a unique impression and a memory he would forever cherish. Vineeth also shares with readers about growing up in India, learning life-shaping lessons from his family, and participating in colorful festivals and celebrations. Finding Anna takes readers across oceans, mountains, and through some of the most charming cities in Austria, China, Israel, and other countries in Europe, and shows that life doesn't have to be conventional and predictable; it can be whatever we choose to make of it.

When a dreamer transforms into a doer, a new world of possibilities is opened. In a sincere and conversational tone, Vineeth Vijayghosh does an impressive job of communicating his experiences and including readers in his journey. Every experience in Finding Anna made me crave more; some made me laugh so hard that I had to explain why I was laughing to the people around me. I got to know about places and festivals I had never heard about, and now I want to visit these places. Religion is mentioned, but in a way that anyone can read and not be offended. Vineeth's journey to self-discovery is as adventurous as it is enlightening. The road to finding Anna is not always smooth; it comes with a good number of surprises, but these surprises make the best memories and leave the most profound lessons.

Matt

Finding Anna is a unique story of a man in search of meaning in life! The author does a great job revisiting his past with the backdrop of his present in the story of Anna!

Anna has different faces and different lives, yet all of them pointing back to the author’s life in the current. A love and appreciation for the small, the fascinating, the uniqueness of places and culture of countries traveled is evident in this captivating writing style.

A storytelling style that captures your imagination vividly, as if you are on this journey with the author!

Every person at some point has asked what is the meaning of life? Where did I come from? Where am I going? This story is relatable to humanity in the quest of answering these questions. This book is well worth your time.

Reens

A wonderful travel memoir and journey to finding oneself

This was such a great book to read. I was drawn into all the adventures the author described through his great storytelling. He travelled to different cities around the world in search of an 'Anna' to meet, photograph, chat with and spend an unforgettable day together. It was quite amazing to read about each of these women through his perspective and I liked the way he interweaved his own life story and past in between each of them to show how they linked and affected him. I particularly liked the chapter on Anna and the Sunflower which took place in Shenzhen, China. I liked how the author described his experience of having hotpot for the first time and all his worries and thoughts running through his head as he was trying to figure out how to eat the chicken wing with chopsticks! It made me laugh! As a Chinese person, I could relate to this particular Anna and I thought the way the author described every little thing in such detail made the whole story so captivating to read. I felt like I was with him on the journey. Highly recommend this!

dvnwrrr

Not usually into memoirs, but...

I thought I'd try my had at this one due to its unique premise.

The author has a fantastic way with words. He draws you into the story without you realizing what happened and you become mesmerized with even the smallest events: a cup of coffee, a mango tree, a castle on the horizon. You feel as if you are the author standing at the very location and having the same conversations. Every chapter is like a touching scene in a movie that captivates you...and you relive it. It was as unique as the premise promised to be. Very enjoyable. If you like the experience of travelling, stories that stop time and pull you into it, and beautiful storytelling...try this memoir.

DSmeltzer

Unique

Finding Anna is unlike any book I've ever read before. The author's storytelling is so poetic and personal that I often felt I had stumbled upon a diary I shouldn't be reading. It was fascinating to get in his head and see his heart. At one point in the book, he quotes a movie:.

“If there is any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone.”
– Celine, Before Sunrise

It was at this moment that I realized what makes this book itself so magical; in his attempt to understand himself and others, the author has given his reader that same gift. The magical gift of understanding someone else...in my case, someone far different from myself. The author now feels like an old friend whom I've never even met.

This book will leave you questing your path in life and will spark a hunger for the small things that really matter.

A. Roberts

An interesting memoir

Contains Spoilers-

Here's my opinion. I'm gonna try to keep out a few spoilers. Let me preface that memoirs aren't normally my genre, but I found the story interesting nonetheless. I enjoyed the anecdotes of the author's upbringing and the concept of how the stories are bound together and chapters together.
I genuinely think it's an amazing idea flipping between time and the different Annas that I haven't seen done before and give him credit for. The narrator has a great voice, and it's profoundly poetic at times, and I wish it got more time to shine at the beginning.

In my opinion, the book suffers from severe opening fatigue for the prologue and repeats again in chapter one. It gets better once you get past that, but it felt like a chore.

Again, memoirs are not my stick because of this. They can feel rambly and never seem to be going anywhere. Whereas in stories (fiction,) the main character always has a goal and a purpose.

However, this book sets up very well from the start where it's going, but it takes such great lengths to do so that I was extremely tempted to put it down. Glad I didn't.

Needless to say, I was ready to dive back into the meat and potatoes. I liked the author's descriptions when they had time to shine, but felt the story was not for me. So if you don't like memoirs I recommend skipping the prologue at the very least, and you might enjoy it more than me.

The mountains, in the beginning, were much better in description than in the pictures scattered throughout the book. While I liked seeing the pictures of his family, I would've rather had a theater of the mind for some things. The photos don't do his story justice for everything.

To eliminate any more spoilers. It was interesting, to say the least.

James L. Jordan

Finding Anna: An Unusual Journey To Self-Discovery is definitely inspirational because of the many lessons imparted by the author through his stories -- which came about as he tried to find himself by reliving his past while staying connected with his present and getting out there in the world, breaking free from his chains and living his dreams.

It is a captivating story, told in a very unique and articulate way, of a young man’s becoming as he examined his life in fine detail, as he made “little stops” each day to appreciate the simple little things, as he “took the time to study the possibilities” that every single day brings -- with the goal of “making each day a memorable one.”

By telling us his life story, the author reminded us of the special people we have in our lives who influenced us and who we should be thankful for. He also reminded us of all the events and things we have in our lives that we should be appreciative about. Moreover, he reminded us to be mindful of all the experiences we have in our everyday lives, that every day is a story on its own (so we should make it count) and that these days make up our lives!

This story is Inspirational and captivating! A must read!

Amy Felzke

I love traveling, so I was excited to read this book. I still need to finish it, but I'm enjoying reading about all of the different places that the author travelled to to meet various Annas. My favorite part so far is the chapter that takes place in Knottenried, Germany. The author is originally from India and I'm from a small city in the American midwest, so I found it funny when the author talked about his culture shock when he discovered that most people in Knottenried owned their own vehicle and didn't rely on public transportation. I experienced similar culture shock (but reversed) when I studied abroad and had to learn how to use the subway to get everywhere :)

My only reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is that some of the chapters are more lengthy than necessary (in my opinion), so I found myself skipping over a few paragraphs that seemed repetitive. Besides that, it's a really interesting read!

Charmaine Marie

Awesome Diary Like Story!

I love how the author, Vineeth Vijayghosh, relates amazing moments in travel and life itself, to an experience with #Anna. #Anna being someone whom he did not know, but she was amazing in her insight and positivity and brought life to everything, just from an initial conversation. Now everything great is #Anna and there's always an #Anna, no matter where he goes. This book will have you looking at your life's experiences, smiling, and connecting them to something meaningful to you. Thank you for such an amazing book. It reminds me to cherish every moment and always entertain my happy place.

Margaret Conn

5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual and fascinating look at a life

I really enjoyed the unique organizing theme of this book -- traveling and learning about interesting places while meeting with women named Anna to photograph and learn about their views of the places where they met. But more interesting to me were the author's memories of growing up in India. These experiences and portraits of his family members had a depth
and clarity that made me feel like I was a guest visiting his family. The book inspired me to do more traveling myself.

Janine Watkins

This book is spectacular!

Not only does it propel you through the cities and distant lands, but you also get to dive into the inner thoughts that often come up while connecting the unfamiliar with the feelings you find comforting.

Finding Anna gave me the nostalgic feeling of traveling with a heart that truly only yearns for one person; to go beyond your levels of comfort and emerge with a heart filled with tenacity and more determination in pursuing your meaning of life.

Like finding his Anna, there is a lot to be said about running into similar energies and types of people over and over again and we venture through life; and the more we go explore these different versions of people, we always seem to discover unknown versions of ourselves. Highly recommended read.

A uniquely inspiring read

It is refreshing to find a writing style like this. There is a closeness, and intimacy in the writing which is compelling. The tales the author tells are inspirational and uplifting.

The essence and warmth of the book will stay with you long after you have read it and you will view your lfe and relationships with a renewed positivity. A great read.

JKC

Interesting premise. More than a Memoir.

This book is genuinely awesome and interesting. In a way, it reminded me of Tying Rocks to Clouds, dealing with travel and meeting unique people. Such a vibrant take on travel and memoirs, this book is definitely worth reading. The author has a way of making you feel like you are really there with him on his journey. The imagery is vivid and captivating. I look forward to future works from the author.

Rain

An interesting conversation between a life’s memories and traveling adventures

Finding Anna takes you on two journeys at once. It takes you through reflections of the author’s past experienced which is then paired with a traveling journey interaction with various Annas around the world, adding a reflection of that life experience.

Being so many places with so many cultures and languages, yet the writing style and perspective of the author creates a sensory experience. A seamless no-need-to-translate traveling experience. It is filled with brief historical antidotes, travel inspiration, and reflections on the human condition.

At first, I was not sure about the length. I generally like quick reads. There is a lot of substance to the book though, and the more you read, the more you cannot put it down.

heavnbound

Great book

This book was very interesting to me and something different from the books I normally read. The author shares different aspects of his life, his different experiences and how these experiences help to change and define his thinking and his life. Very interesting read, and a book I would definitely recommend reading!

Chuzpah

Fun adventure

I usually don’t read memoirs, but the premise intrigued me since I’ve had similar things happen to me in my life. Each chapter contains a story on the day of the life of the author being with another Anna. Each story is unique and inspiring. I haven’t read anything quite like it.

beegee

An intriguing narrative

The author takes you on a journey from the time he is born in a little town in India to his life in Europe in search of Anna - a mystery of the self solved through the eyes of another - as a way to resolve the gaps of where he comes from and where he is now. And enthralling narrative with details that took me back to my own growing up times in India. At once pulling me back to my birth home while still playing in the Western world where I live. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book! Highly recommended!

Jeffrey John Frisone

Poetic writing

What a great read. Very well written. My favorite part was the section on being afraid of the dark and he speaks briefly on his faith in Hinduism. During his travels, he describes the locations and places with such vivid details so you feel like you yourself are there with him. He meets several "Anna"s in search of the one and it is an intriguing memoir. Highly recommend.

Blake Templeton

A book with an interesting concept!

Go on an adventure through several cities and even countries as you "find Anna". Really interesting book that you will continually look forward to the next chapter and you will be sad when there are no more! Highly recommend!

Jordan Miller

I really enjoyed reading this book. The author did a great job of telling the story in a way that is personal and poetic. I really liked the details behind each place he travelled.
I was pulled into the different adventured that he experienced through his writing, it felt as if I was there with him.

This book does a great job of giving you different versions but linking it back to one person at the same time.
It's definitely worth the read. I would highly recommend it!

Amy Rybicki

This memoir is written with such creativity, as you journey through different countries and experience the lessons learned along the way. The author's courage to step out and experience something new will inspire you to stretch yourself in new ways. I loved learning about different cultures through the authors eyes as well as following in his footsteps as he becomes the person he is to day.

joris

I loved this book. Part-time memoir, part-time adventure. The reader follow a physical and internal journey from the author.

Starla Spray

Self Awareness with Love

This memoir is so well written. It takes on a travel journey that is actually combined in self awareness, self truth, and growing into who the authors authentic self with acceptance. I love this book!

Cheryl Fallin

I loved this book. Part-time memoir, part-time adventure. The reader follow a physical and internal journey from the author.

Preeti G.

On putting down the book Finding Anna, once I reached the end, I found myself thinking about the vibrant and rich visions the author painted in my mind while taking me on a journey over the last few days. As he came full circle after visiting his childhood, his teens, the road his working life took him on and his desire to absorb culture, people's experiences and to expand his being; he got me to know him, the person.

What a beautiful route to discover what builds character! Every person who touched him, who got him to think, to empathize, to embrace and to appreciate was portrayed in beautiful shades for us to love through his eyes.

His journey, his wide-eyed learning from every Anna he met and the innocence of his unabashed revealing of his hunger to discover more of life after his movement from the East to the West, through his travels and his interactions make you connect with the person on his journey as if you were he. Now that I have finished the book, I am going to miss him!

Few authors display raw authenticity, flipping open the pages of their lives and their thoughts for all to know. Those are the ones that touch you the most. Vineeth is one of them.

I highly recommend this matured, evolved and very enjoyable read. I look forward to the next one!

Melanie

An excellent book

This is a unique memoir in which the author spent six years traveling the world, and met many people (including 25 named Anna along the way). In an effort to understand himself better, the author sought to understand others. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I feel like that really is how we discover ourselves. It's not until we find ourselves faced with different ideas, cultures, and perspectives that we can actually really see our own self clearly and evaluate it with any kind of perspective. Though the stories in this book, readers can get a little bit of the perspective for self-discovery, as well.

SvenAdorbs

Wow! An Incredible Life Journey

I’ve never read a travel memoir before, but I’m glad this was my first! The author does an incredible job of recounting all of his travels, as well as his childhood. He shares so many unique details about himself and memories that make for a rich tale.

Vineeth is a brave and strong person who has certainly been through many difficult times. He has also pushed himself to be the best version of himself, which is truly admirable.

The people, ideas, and new memories he encounters in his travels are riveting. If you like travel tales, this one is a must read!

Nagevog

This is a gorgeous and lushly captivating memoir about the author’s journeys throughout the world; Not only physically, but spiritually as well. This writer can write! I felt drawn in as the author described his meetings and experiences with the various Annas he encountered in his life.

The warmth of his observations and the regard for each of the people he meets on the journey is obvious and contagious. This coupled with his obvious life experience and wisdom makes for a compelling read.

Jb

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating journey

This is a fresh take on a memoir/travelogue. I found many fascinating stories as I traveled around the globe and saw life through the eyes of someone much different than me. Very interesting and entertaining. In the words of the author: "Every story in our life is a journey because we are not the same person at the end of it as we were when it started." I appreciate his observations.

Linda D Dutterer

Unique Book - A Must Read

"Finding Anna" is truly a very interesting book to be and read. Lots of stories in the book are true, per the Author. I found this book to be an interesting read and I could not put down the book till I was done reading it. Each chapter is a fresh story about Anna. I have gained a knowledge of Countries I have never been to. If I could give six stars, I would. Enjoy the book yourself!

Marge Di Blasio

5.0 out of 5 stars Once you start reading, it's hard to put it down...

Very authentic. The author has a unique way in engaging his readers with his adventures in life..
No spoilers. All I can say is try reading the first few pages and you'll be surprised with yourself continuing and asking..what would happen next. Inspiring journey of a young man seeking deeper meaning of life...

Whitney

'Finding Anna' is a fantastic read that pulls you in and keeps you there throughout the whole book.
This travel memoir is honest, raw, poetic, and inspiring, as the author takes you on a journey to find the meaning of life and the love of it.
A highly recommend read!

Lori Barrett

I love this book! So fresh and raw at times, loving & warm. The author takes the reader on a wonderful journey. From the beginning of the book, I was hooked! The flow of the book takes you away to a different place immediately, which is the best thing about this book in my opinion!! I wanted to find Anna too. Learning different languages, the hotel/home stays, and the author's traveling is captivating! If you want a great read, this is the book for you.

M. Mbali

Stunning, lyrical, melodic writing. Delightful story

This was a superbly written book. What I enjoyed the most was the writing. The author has a melodic, lyrical quality to his writing which makes it such a joy to read. I found myself rereading passages just to savour his wordmanship. I also found the personal anecdotes about his life in India delightful. I have not visited India so it was wonderful to be drawn into his world and get an authentic sense of what it was like as a boy growing up there. A great book and I look forward to reading more from this author!

R. J. Comley

A unique and inspiring memoir

This book is packed full of places of wonder and moments of self-discovery. I love the central conceit of searching the world for people named Anna and using that to go on a learning journey.

It's great to see how each meeting reminds him of a time when he was younger and the images interspersed through the book really give it a sense of reality and genuineness.

Thanks for such an inspirational read!

Paul James

A personal memoir that grew up around a photographic project of different women called Anna throughout Western Europe, Finding Anna is an interesting way of revisiting the author’s own life and experiences. It’s a neat concept, delivered in an upbeat and positive way, something we haven’t seen or heard enough of in recent times. I liked this book a lot and I’d recommend it to anyone into memoirs, travel, or just thoughts on modern life.

Alice Wu

This is a great travel memoir, I like the way the author describes each travel cities, it makes me feeling that I am travelling there. I like the author’s attitude of discover the world and enjoy being his own skin. It is interesting to know that the author could change his life decision or his plan as those little few words or could caused by a few words or very little things. This is a valuable book for readers to read.

Jerr.

What an awesome book! Not only did it take me back to my travel days through Europe but as I read it I felt like I had traveled to all of the countries with him. The writing was so descriptive and captivating. The author uses his travels to explore the purpose of life and he really gets you pondering this question as well.

Anita O

Finding Anna is a unique story of a man in search of meaning in life! The author does a great job revisiting his past with the backdrop of his present in the story of Anna!

Anna has different faces and different lives, yet all of them pointing back to the author’s life in the current. A love and appreciation for the small, the fascinating, the uniqueness of places and culture of countries traveled is evident in this captivating writing style.

A storytelling style that captures your imagination vividly, as if you are on this journey with the author!

Every person at some point has asked what is the meaning of life? Where did I come from? Where am I going? This story is relatable to humanity in the quest of answering these questions. This book is well worth your time.