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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Five Years, Eleven Months and a Lifetime of Unexpected Love by Visakha Dasi is a brilliant memoir about a woman’s struggles in coming to terms with her spiritual realization, conditioning her mind to overcome her atheism, and her transformative spiritual journey amid many challenging circumstances. The memoir speaks about a woman who goes to India with her boyfriend, John, to capture how villagers lived in a quaint Indian village without the complexity and stress which is typical of Western life. Things take a different turn when she comes into contact with her spiritual guru. The book draws readers in with its honesty, faith, and the author’s personal experiences. It is a memoir of self-realization, self-discovery, and an inner journey that will leave readers inspired and motivated to look for answers that revolve around God and faith.
The author’s insights, thought-provoking reasoning, and her account of Prabhupada and his movement reveal the spiritual journey of a young woman who starts questioning her lifestyle, goals, values, and identity. The narration is descriptive and the black and white photographs are starkly vivid - they capture the essence and mood of the author’s words. The way she has woven her story is simple, yet she manages to encourage readers to find their own spiritual path. The book is refreshingly unique, the emotions are palpable through the words and pictures, and the struggles and obstacles undergone and faced by the author during her journey as a spiritual seeker make it a compelling and thoughtful memoir.