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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
The Recovering Materialist: From a Nordic Hardcore Punk to a Hindu Monk in California is about a promising journey and the sacrifices made by a rebellious soul on a path to unplugging from the metaphorical matrix and a society that he felt alienated from. At 18, Tuomas Mäkinen's experience after reading a book given to him by a monk from the Helsinki Krishna temple initiated a series of decisions that led him to a monastery in a remote part of California. His girlfriend and parents could not understand why he would leave them to join a new family and live simply with strangers. Tuomas sometimes felt as if he didn't belong, especially while facing various challenges ranging from a negligent act that almost got a cow killed to tedious temple construction and a tough managerial position. Like anything worth committing to, the road to enlightenment and freedom from materialism is far from easy.
Tuomas Mäkinen's vivid descriptions of the pastoral setting of the monastery offer a momentary escape and an avenue to mentally visit a different world. He uses humor, similes, and flowing sentences to create an intriguing read that keeps the reader hooked with its sheer brilliance. He mentions that a song ran through him like "some cursed river that crackled with pure, unadulterated force." The themes are neatly woven together and diverse: hard-core punk, teenage life, military training, schooling, religion, Hinduism, dating, family, nature, bullying, and recreational drugs. The Recovering Materialist left me wishing it had a thousand pages. Apart from being an addictive read, it doubles as a source of inspiration for separating from the herd and asking key questions about your direction in life. If you've ever questioned the path that was assigned to you by society, you should read this book.