The Reincarnationistby M.J. Rose-Meh. For me, this book was just a series of extremely telegraphed events, and I never reached that point where I just couldn't put the book down. I'm okay with telegraphed, but it has to be intriguing. Sometimes you know what's going to happen, but you still can't wait to see if you're right because if you are, it's going to be really funny or super sad or totally awesome and you want to see it play out. Not so much with this book.
So, quick rundown: Josh is living in present day NYC, but he was injured a few years ago, and ever since he's been having what seem to be memories of a past-life; but they are more than just memories, they're more like lurches from the present into the past. The Phoenix Foundation works with children who are experiencing similar episodes, but they normally don't work with adults. Josh, of course, is the exception. In Rome a major archeological find has been unearthed; a tomb of one of the Vestal Virgins has been discovered and in this tomb is a box that is rumored to contain the legendary Memory Stones. These stones are supposed to be able to help with past-life regressions, and if they exist they are worth a lot to different people for different reasons. Someone breaks in, the stones are stolen, and chaos ensues. Also, the woman in the tomb was probably the love of Josh's life around 390 A.D., but is she really? Why was she buried alive? Did she really have the stones? Who has them now? Why are they killing people and kidnapping children? See? This should be intriguing, right? That's what I thought too. I'm not saying this book was terrible; it was interesting, I just wasn't ever on the edge of my seat.
The one thing about this book that I did find fascinating was the quote from Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of Chapter 1 (that's Location 158-65 for those of you following along on your Kindle readers in the second-smallest font. For the rest of you, I would assume this is somewhere near page 1. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can go here). Anyway, here's the quote:
They will come back, come back again,
As long as the red earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree.
Do you think he would squander souls?
Ooh, doesn't that just give you goosebumps (or chicken skin for those of you in Hawaii)? Reincarnation is one of those things that I certainly don't think is impossible, but it's also a pretty big stretch to say, "Yup. That's the way it works. I'm certain," but those last two lines right there make a lot of sense to me. That brings up a whole new quandry though.
What are we right now, about 6,000,000,000 people worldwide, give or take a few hundred million? Ok. Well, what happens when we get to 7,000,000,000? Where do those extra billion souls come from? Are those the souls that have finally evolved (devolved?) enough to be human? What did they evolve or devolve from? I don't know if evolve is quite the right word, but you all know what I mean, right? Does a super-courageous rescue dog who has saved many lives finally get to come into the world as somebody's beloved baby girl? Does an elephant that went on a rampage and killed her baby have to come back as an amputee beggar in the streets of India? (Because, you know, elephants are the physical manifestation of Nirvana. I'm pretty sure.)
Did the world start out with one soul, and has it just been stretched thinner and thinner as each new person comes into the world? Do we all get souls? What if there is only a set number, and some of us have them and some of us don't? Does it change throughout your lifetime? Can you lose your soul? Gain a soul? This reminds me of the questions that were brought up in Unwind, by Neal Shusterman.
Okay, I'll stop now. I'm sure if there are any religious scholars reading this, they A) stopped reading a long time ago or B) continued reading but have made a notation in their wills to have their graves dug extra wide so that they will have plenty of room to roll over in them when they finally get there.
If anybody has any thoughts on reincarnation, I'd love to hear it.
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