Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Has Oprah Taken Us? - Review

I will admit, I've never been a "follower' of Oprah. Sure I'd watch a show here and there, and I think i did read one of her book club selections once but I never really "got into" Oprah, so imagine my surprise by how much I enjoyed this book, Where Has Oprah Taken Us by Stephen Mansfield.

This is a biography of Oprah and yet, also a commentary on society and culture, intertwined. Oprah really created culture, not just reflected it. The book recounts her fascinating life and what shaped her, the good and the bad, chronicling her resolve and her belief systems that have evolved over the years. Though well-revered and loved by many, she isn't perfect, and in fact, she'd probably be the first to tell you that! It's part of her charm and appeal: In many ways, this influential, wealthy, confident woman faces the same fears and struggles as everyone.

I didn't know much about Oprah's life and this book is a good introduction into it. Really, the woman is fascinating and the way the book is written makes it difficult to put down. What might be dry simply isn't because of the subject matter. I also really enjoyed how Stephen Mansfield wrote this: as a biographer and trying to report without bias, yet bring up several questions and concerns along the way. He'd often put his own opinions and observations in italics and that was one of the most thought-provoking parts and really made the book more meaningful to me.

Oprah has definitely left a mark on how we view religion and spirituality and how we view ourselves as well. No longer is spirituality something dictated by others, we are now in control of what we believe and how it shapes our lives. Of course, I disagree here but the reality is: this has shaped our culture and I think it is good to really reflect on that so we can understand our culture and why this is so appealing.

Intriguing and thought-provoking book. I recommend it.

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