Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING by Viktor E. Frankl

Rating: 2/5 stars

The first part of this book, Frankl's autobiographical account of being in the prisoner of war camps during World War Two, was enlightening to read. I have not read many true accounts of concentration camps, but that doesn't make the horrors that happened there any less real. Even though this part of the book was interesting, I found it hard to read, as in I didn't really have the desire to pick it up and continue reading. When I got to part two about logotherapy, I found myself reading this part much more quickly. I actually enjoyed reading about logotherapy more than I enjoyed reading about the camps (this seems to be an unpopular opinion, as I've read from others that part two was boring and hard to get through).

I originally thought Man's Search for Meaning would be a philosophical discussion about how to find and attain purpose in one's own life. I didn't realize it would include an autobiographical section about World War Two, although that account and the stories within add great depth to the philosophical discussion that did follow in part two. Frankl taught how to find meaning when it seems that there is nothing left to live for and all hope is lost. This book would have been less impactful had his story not been included.

The reason I gave this book two stars is primarily because I struggled to want to read it. In my rating system, all books start out at three stars and either gain or lose stars based on my interest level and engagement in the book. I think it is wrong to rate someone's personal experiences, and therefore my rating does not in any way invalidate Frankl's experiences that he wrote about; it is merely a reflection of my personal interest while reading his book. I do want to say, though, that I think this was a meaningful and powerful book that many will benefit from.

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