In this allegory about love, inner peace, and abundance, an emotionally exhausted protagonist gets a second chance to find the treasure he believes hides in an attic.
When Great Aunt Prudence dies, her great-nephew is invited to clean out her attic. As a 10-year-old, he discovered a locked sea chest there that belonged to Prudence’s brother, Ezra. As he grew, studied, and strived, he dreamed the trunk held great wealth. Now struggling with a job he finds meaningless, a loveless marriage, and his role as a father, it seems just what he needs to release himself from his life of drudgery. He lifts the chest’s lid and finds inside an envelope and a book written on heavy vellum.
This forms the book’s first part. The second part is labeled The Book of Wisdom. It tells the tale of a spirt who visited Ezra in the Guatemalan jungles because Ezra had been chosen “to receive the truth.” Dictated to Ezra by the spirit, it’s 32 short incantations and commentary, ranging from “When you have put self aside to serve the need of another you have approached perfection” to “Abundance and happiness are the lot of those who are content and competent in the duties they perform.” The great-nephew uses this wisdom to repair his family life and reclaim his joy.
The book’s first part is a colorful narration of the great-nephew’s long-cherished dreams of hidden treasure, his frustrations, and Ezra’s spirit encounter. Enlivened with a sense of humor, it’s fun to read. Unfortunately, The Book of Wisdom is less enjoyable: The commentary (“All serve as they are given to serve”) doesn’t particularly enlighten or expand on the gnomic incantations, and even a seeker as frustrated by life as the book’s protagonist may tire of searching for gems in the verbiage.
While the narrator offers readers entertainment, less mysticism and more clarity in The Book of Wisdom would make for a more satisfying read overall.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.