Swami Soup by Valerie Gilbert

GilbertSwamiSoupWhere I Got It: Review copy via Audiobook Monthly (thanks!)

Narrator: Valerie Gilbert

Publisher: Self-published (2015)

Length: 8 hours 5 minutes

Author’s Page

For folks who have enjoyed Raving Violet, Ms. Gilbert returns with more tales of her mystical life in New York city. From quirky neighborhood characters, to her adventures into spiritual education, to commentary on our modern world, she ventures into it all. The book is a mix of humor and awe at the world around us.

Once again, Gilbert entertains us with tales of her adventures through the mystics of New York. I find this part of her books so interesting because it is so very different from my own life. In this book, she focuses on dream symbology and synchronicity and how she applies them to her life. While I am not a believer in either myself, I do find it interesting how she uses both techniques to help guide her in both minor and major decisions.

She also chats about some of the fun characters around her neighborhood, and some of the not so fun ones (like the guy who didn’t like her dog at the local park). She went on at length about a mysterious elderly woman who also frequents the park whose past life seems to contradict with her current affairs. While I felt the author was a little focused and a little harsh on the woman’s looks, I like that she included her in the novel because she is just such a walking contradiction.

At one point the author takes a jibe at George R. R. Martin’s book, A Game of Thrones, which is one of my favorite epic fantasies. But she later redeems herself by waxing eloquent about the film Babette’s Feast, which is an excellent film. She ventures onto Craig’s List for the first time, with near-disastrous results. Through narrating, the author has had to update her skills to successfully operate her home recording studio. Also, it has broadened her reading; since she was in her teens she has pretty much stuck to reading spiritual books or those dealing with mysticism. It’s always good to see people step outside their safe reading zone.

Gilbert is refreshingly honest about her fears of dentists, doctors, and surgery. She speaks bluntly about her medical issues and her deep fears, and how the required surgery forced her to face and conquer those fears. I enjoyed her tackling it with humor.

My one criticism is that on occasion she would get a little preachy. By her own word, she is a mystic. So why I can see why she would want to get the word out about her believes on the spiritual realm and where the human species is headed, my eyes did tend to glaze over a it during these sections. They were sprinkled through out the book instead of being all clumped together. So pretty soon, the book returns to more interesting tales of NYC living.

Narration:  The sound quality on this book was very good. Gilbert gives a god performance with a clear voice and the occasional accent. Her previous two books have a bit more emotion and I think I prefer the slightly more animated narration on those two books.

What I Liked: Humorous stories; facing and defeating fears; reference to Babette’s Feast; interesting characters.

What I Disliked:  There are sections of the book that are a bit preachy and these, to me, were boring.

3 thoughts on “Swami Soup by Valerie Gilbert”

  1. Thank you, Susan!

    I’m baffled by one observation, however, my putting down Game of Thrones. I haven’t seen it or read it, and I don’t remember remarking on it. Do you remember what I said?

    Ah, I looked it up. “In addition to pot-smoking teenagers skipping school and reading Game of Thrones (I told them to read my book, Raving Violet), there is the odd tourist or five taking photos (one of whom, a photographer from Italy, Paolo Bonacorrsi”

    I didn’t put it down at all, I simply referenced it.

    Thank you for all your amazing time and diligence putting together these 3 audio book reviews!




    1. That was my observation. Since you narrate your own work, I inferred more than just the words. Plus I know that you had no interest in SFF novels for years (preferring spiritual, mystical writings) until you became a narrator. Anyway, it is a small point.

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