Released this coming Tuesday, The Five Times I Met Myself is the story of Brock Matthews, a husband, father and coffee company owner whose life is falling apart around him- his marriage is stagnant, his relationship with his son is distant, his business is on the rocks and his brother doesn’t really like him. When Brock starts getting dreams about his father, he turns to a friend to learn about lucid dreaming. He wants the dreams to stop; his life is depressing enough as it is without having nightly visitations from the father he hated.
With the knowledge of lucid dreaming, comes the idea that he can change his life- he has been sent these dreams in order to correct what went wrong in his life, mend the bridges shattered in the past, and change his life. He is able to speak, and give advice, to his younger self in these dreams and for these dreams to have a tangible effect in the present.
However, the more Brock tries to change his life for the better, the worse it becomes. Brock has a long way to go before learning the important lessons about what really matters in life.
This book was an advanced copy that was sent to me free of charge in return for an honest review, and has honestly been an incredibly difficult book to review. The reason for this is simple- I am not the right audience for this book. The message of the book may be best suited to a youngish audience but the writing style and overall story would suit an older audience I believe. Most importantly however, is that this book is a very spiritual book- it is based on the idea that the Christian God has sent these dreams to Brock and that what is happening is God’s will. This idea is not put across subtly but rather openly and triumphantly- deliberately so by the author who clearly has a particular message that he wishes to relay.
I am not religious, nor am I particularly spiritual, and so this message has seemed heavy handed at times. I actually think I am incapable of enjoying the book as the author intended because of my lack of faith/spirituality/religion and almost wish that I had not agreed to review the book. I think a person of faith would feel very differently about the book; I think they would find it uplifting and faith-affirming. However, an honest review is what was promised and that is what I intend to deliver.
Separating the book from the message, it does have a lot to offer. The central concept of the lucid dreaming is something I had heard of before and the idea of being able to influence your past self and therefore your future through dreams is intriguing- and was in fact the initial and main appeal of this book for me.
I liked the way that Brock’s life was shown to be incredibly complex and not easily fixed by a ten minute conversation with his past. The strands that make up Brock’s existence are many and varied, and the more he tries to unravel them, the more entangled they become. These entanglements aren’t always what you think they will be and there were a fair number of surprises along the way.
The pacing of the book, after the initial few chapters was good. The story did race along once it had got going- it did take longer than I would have liked to get going though.
Brock as a character is a very definite shades of grey character- sometimes I liked him, sometimes I thought he was an absolute idiot. He was the most well-rounded of the characters as you would expect, but able supported by the secondary characters.
I would be very interested to have a conversation with someone who is religious, or at the least spiritual, and see how their view compares to mine. Faith is such a central part of this book that, without it, I feel I cannot connect to it at all.