With Kitchen Table Wisdom, Dr. Remen established herself as an important new voice bringing hope and healing to a difficult world. Her book spent more than three months on the New York Times bestseller list, and maintained even longer runs on the Boston, San Francisco, and Denver lists.
Now she has written My Grandfather's Blessings, a work that further examines the human heart and celebrates those who serve life so beautifully, so effortlessly, so selflessly often without knowing.
It was Rachel Remen's grandfather, a kabbalistic rabbi, who gave her the eyes to see that service is what heals the isolation and loneliness in us all. Service happens every day in ways we don't notice: we serve each other; life serves us; and it is discovering the place of service in ourselves that leads at last to wisdom. As Remen says, "Every life serves a purpose which is both simple and profound. We are here to grow in wisdom and to learn to love better. What this says is that there are many life paths but all life has a spiritual agenda. And all people are on a spiritual path." These stories give us a profound sense of strength that is achieved by knowing that we belong to each other, and to life itself.
"Many people will know Remen, an M.D. who specializes in psycho-oncology, from the PBS series Healing and the Mind. Here Remen focuses on the healing power of stories, drawing evidence both from the experiences of her patients and from her own battle with the effects of Crohn's disease, a life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder. This is a book about possibilities, how terror can be faced, how lessons can be learned, how healing is always possible, if not physically then emotionally. Each story is only a few pages long, but in them, readers meet a variety of people, including Remen's own family, who come up against the most difficult medical circumstances and still manage to find the mystery and hope in life, even at its last moments. By telling these stories and encouraging readers to share their own, Remen wants people to see the interconnectedness of human beings and the resilience of the human condition. She does a wonderful job of it. A Book-of-the-Month Club selection. --Ilene Cooper"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Remen is one of a growing number of physicians exploring the spiritual dimension of the healing arts. "Coherent, elegant, mysterious, aesthetic," she writes. "When I first earned my degree in medicine I would not have described life in this way. But I was not on intimate terms with life then." Now Remen is awed by the vitality of the life force, which she witnesses through her work counseling cancer patients and their doctors at Commonweal, a cancer-help center in California, and through her keen eye for the depths of ordinary people. Remen tells of those who, having fallen ill, discovered previously untapped wells of fortitude and who, ironically, gained a peace of mind they had never known when well. She often turns common wisdom on its head. Discussing the meaning of suffering, she cites one woman who mourned the loss of her chest pains after corrective surgery. These pains had come whenever she had compromised her integrity; now her "inner advisor" was gone. Some of the most poignant stories here are of doctors whose professional code rejects overt displays of emotion. Both patients and doctors can come to care profoundly for one another, Remen believes. A heartfelt call for change as well as a display of compassionate and courageous thinking, this meditation will speak especially to those whose lives have been touched by illness. BOMC and One Spirit alternate selections; first serial rights to Family Circle and New Age Journal. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved