3 out of 4 stars
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Avril was a very successful entrepreneur. She spent every minute of her adult life making new connections and driving her business to more success. In the process of climbing the social ladder, she dropped everything that seemed to hinder her from achieving her goals. Sadly, she had no time for her daughter, Sylvie, who lived with her father, Dan. Her life changed when she got a wake-up call in the form of a brain tumor.
When the first chapter of the book opens, the reader meets a very enthusiastic Avril on her way to New York from Los Angeles. On arriving at the airport, Julie (her executive assistant) informs her that her personal doctor, Dr. Adams, needed to see her immediately. Consequently, she boards another plane to go to Dr. Adams back in Los Angeles. Her migraines kick in once she takes her seat in the economy class (she always traveled in the first class section). Her seatmate, Donte, begins to chat with her against her will. He piques her interest when he hands her a stone that is supposed to cure her migraines. That becomes the beginning of a bitter-sweet relationship, which progresses even after Dr. Adams tells her that she is terminally ill.
The author, Pompeo Graniglia, could not have chosen a better title for the novel. I was not sure about the direction the book would take when I first picked it. The Vagabond provides a very interesting tale about Avril and her newly found friend and guru, Donte. Do you believe in coincidences or miracles? Donte seemed to have been sent from heaven to lead Avril to the path of peace and harmony. Whenever Avril was lonely and hopeless, Donte always showed up and helped her with her struggles. For instance, Lorna (one of Avril’s friends) organized a charity event to help the homeless. To avoid being alone at home, Avril insisted on attending the party during a time when she would rather be in the company of her friends only. While Lorna was busy attending to her guests, Avril chose to have a drink by herself in a less crowded area. She could not believe it when she found that Donte was at the point where she chose to sit. Didn’t he have other things to attend to? Could God be the Vagabond or was Donte the Vagabond?
The Vagabond teaches people the importance of self-awareness. Graniglia chose to use Avril’s hopeless situation to teach his audience how to live in peace and harmony. Donte selflessly helped Avril to see the light at the end of the tunnel in her situation. With his guidance, Avril gives her life a new meaning and strives to keep the things that are most important in life. For instance, she began reaching out to her daughter after many years of being far away from her.
The novel is written in the first person and in the present tense. I could not imagine reading a book written in the present tense from the beginning to the end. I later understood the author’s motive in choosing to use it. Donte told Avril to take responsibility for everything that happens in her life and not to feel guilty about her past because “guilt and judgment are usually spoken in the third person, with a setting in the past or the future. He did that, she should have done this, it could have been different. Responsibility is always in the first person, and set in the present.” The author hopes that the reader could follow the principle and make his/her life better.
Sadly, it seems that the book was not professionally edited. It contains many grammatical mistakes that can easily distract a reader from enjoying the book. A round of thorough editing should make the book perfect. Consequently, I gave it 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who needs a helping hand in understanding the meaning of life and how to overcome the hurdles of life.
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