The Girl of Zen

Fiction - Cultural
174 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2017
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Author Biography

Susana Franco began by attending the History course at the University of Lisbon and worked in the real estate industry for ten years, but the lack of accomplishment in her life made her decide to travel to India and Africa.
Concerned with extreme poverty in some African countries and poor access to education for children in Africa, Susana has committed to raising funds for SAMA, a gender equality NGO.
This involvement led her to scale Mount Kilimanjaro and to become involved in the creation of a Foundation (H.E.A.R.T.) sponsoring children's access to pre-primary education in Uganda. The author also embarked on a spiritual restructuring journey to India and Southeast Asia. Along the way she met an Indian guru who radically changed her view of life. After that she attended two courses in India to become a yoga instructor and lived temporarily in Japan in a temple with followers of Zen, a segment of Buddhism. This experience inspired her to write her second book: The Girl of Zen.
Currently, Susana is a Yoga instructor as a therapy of energy and mind harmonization. Yoga and meditation are part of her daily routine, such as writing about spirituality. She believes that we should always follow the heart, for it is the messenger of the soul, and that every soul is a piece of the Divine here on Earth: we all have enough power to change our reality.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mary C. Blowers for Readers' Favorite

The Girl of Zen by Susana Franco is a most enjoyable read about a woman, Victoria, who visited a monastery in Japan. She endeavored to find herself or find a spiritual path, and planned to visit India later to learn to teach yoga as well. But the austerities of the monastery were repellent to her. Dropping a few grains of rice on the floor by mistake, she was horrified when she was told to pick them up and eat them. Nothing could be wasted. In that same first meal, she was reprimanded more than once for infractions she could not have been aware of. But she stayed. The one other woman resident, Ronda, showed her duties day by day and Victoria became accustomed. The occasional trip to town for a communal hot bath, or to eat delicious restaurant food, did not satisfy as expected. At last Victoria grew to prefer the Zen way. But, ever the seeker, she used her knowledge of astrology to analyze others with some interesting findings by them as well as herself.

I am intrigued by spiritual seeking and so found this lighthearted book enjoyable. Franco brings a touch of humor to this seeker's memoir, The Girl of Zen. More than just a series of rituals, life at the monastery involved learning disciplines, casual chatting with fellow seekers, supporting each other and working as a team. It would not be for everyone, but for those who seek meaning in their life, it may be one avenue to bring clarity.