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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
It’s not often I pick up a memoir and find that what I’ve read is not only an engrossing story but a fascinating and most unexpected education. Dave Kobrenski, the author of Finding the Source, managed to keep me thoroughly entertained by his unpretentious approach to sharing details of his often chaotic life. From the time I first met him in his memoir, he exhibited a thirst for knowledge beyond what he could get from regular education, along with restlessness and an insatiable need for artistic expression. Kobrenski ultimately satisfied those needs during his travels to West Africa where he was mesmerized by African ritual drumming, but along the way, he succumbed to a crippling auto-immune disease. Back home, his only relief was through typical Western pharmaceuticals that kept him semi-functional in an opioid haze. But in the back of his mind was what he had been told by shamans and natural healers in West Africa: that he had somehow offended ancient spirits and he needed to make reparation or forever suffer from the curse they had put on him.
Hence, Kobrenski’s memoir is about finding the source of both his physical and spiritual problems. Does he find that source? That, dear reader, is for you to find out. But what about this education I mentioned I received while reading Finding the Source? Well, for one, Kobrenski told me about Elmina, a castle-like fortress where slaves were kept in complete darkness, standing shoulder to shoulder in their filth while waiting to be shipped out. Another time, he filled me in on just how our current opioid crisis began: I had no idea how its simple beginnings evolved to what we have today. Then there was one of the most beautiful and touching parts of my education under Kobrenski: his close look at the African culture and mentality when it comes to community and strangers within it: “In the village mentality…even a ragged stranger who ends up on your doorstep must be provided for.” Contrast that thinking, says Kobrenski, to how in the west, we allow so many to go without.
In Finding the Source, Dave Kobrenski, without being preachy or boring, and often in a humorous, self-deprecating way, teaches readers about so many different subjects, including his great love of African drumming. Further, he captures the essence of the African people through his art, which you can enjoy on his website at www.davekobrenski.com. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting his site after reading this wonderful memoir. I hope you will do the same. Highly recommended.