Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

★★★★★ and a ♥

Synopsis: Born into wealth and privilege, Siddhartha renounces his place among India’s nobility to wander the countryside in search of meaning. He learns suffering and self-denial among a group of ascetics before meeting the Buddha and coming to realize that true peace cannot be taught: It must be experienced. Changing his path yet again, Siddhartha reenters human society and earns a great fortune. Yet over time this life leaves Siddhartha restless and empty. He achieves enlightenment only when he stops searching and surrenders to the oneness of it all.
In A Sentence: A wonderfully poetic book that left in me in tears

My Thoughts: This was a reread for me; the last time I read this book was back in 8th grade (13 years ago, yeesh!). My English teacher, Mr. Carter, was really good at providing us with interesting and thought-provoking novels, so of course he had us read and discuss this book. I don’t remember the class discussion, nor did I remember the main message that Siddhartha gave Govinda at the end of the story. But I did remember the plot of the story, and I did remember that this book had left a huge impression on me as a teenager. It helped shape me into the person I am today. So, naturally, I needed to read this book again as an adult.
And wow. Just. Wow.
When I finished the book, I promptly burst into tears. I had to sit and contemplate on what I had just read for a good period of time. I looked around me with fresh eyes and was able to appreciate how Siddhartha’s message could relate to my life.
…Okay, that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s still true. This book was extremely poetic and what Hesse had to say was just so beautiful. It’s a small wonder that I started crying. It’s also no wonder that this had made a huge impact on me as a kid.
This is the type of book that could withstand any time period, I think. The all-inclusive message it gives is something that I think anyone could follow. It doesn’t sound ridiculous, nor does it sound ignorant of what goes on in the world; it’s a message that fits into everything. I’m not trying to sound like a spiritual follower; I’m really not a spiritual person. I do, however, love the point this book gives. I won’t spoil it for you here though; I think if I was to summarize the message it would ruin it, so I’ll leave you to go and find out for yourselves. I strongly recommend that you read this book if you haven’t already. It doesn’t take very long and it is very, very good. A timeless classic.

Side note: I read the edition with the translation by Rika Lesser. I don't know if that makes a difference, but I did like this translation.

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