Book: Through the Crimson MirrorHelge Janssen
Helge Janssen: There is a very deep heart-felt thread that runs through “Through the Crimson Mirror” that is estimable: to heal a fractured parental world.
Daniel Alexander Dinnie’s style is down-to-earth, chatty and at times overwhelming - where the reasoning twists and turns in an array of mind paths, but with an ultimate aim: to demonstrate the way in which the intellect thinks/works, how the mind at times argues with itself and how, with the correct focus the cognitive-routes converge towards a possible solution. The process is liberal, democratic and considerate and entices the reader to keep reading.
It is essential to reference the “Author’s note, Important, Please Read” at the beginning of the book. “Chapter summaries” cleverly form an integral part of the reading and consolidation of points raised. These form a comprehensive sounding board leading to comprehension checkpoints before starting the next chapter.
Daniel’s motivation to write came about due to an intense emotional crisis in his life that led to a suicide attempt. The fact that he has pulled himself out of the resultant no-man’s-land into a state of balance is no mean feat. The book is littered with ‘wisdoms’ gleaned from direct experience backed up with reference to an array of books such as de Bono’s “How to Have Creative Ideas”. The points that he raises in terms of well-being, of the need for time, and of the need to find resonance become vitally authentic therapeutic ingredients in the process of healing. He displays a lot of common sense and it is from this aspect that the book gains its strength. Common sense sadly, is not such a common quality.
There are times when the ideas come in thick and fast, as if they have just occurred to him and this gives the reading a conversational and intimate slant, as if he is talking to the reader personally. At other times he is not afraid to be vulnerable, to accept that some things don’t have an immediate answer, and to admit that he too is subject to collective human frailties. As such, Daniel is not telling the reader what to do, but guides, poses and suggests how to go about preparing oneself towards a framework of understanding. The book has a driving passion: to get you to question your own reality, think about routine responses, find ways to be real, embrace your authentic self. Yes, you are going to have to work: this is not a step-by-step paint by number solution!
While some aspects of the book are controversial, Daniel’s style of delivery immediately balances the perspective so that the reader never feels they are ‘to blame’. As such the author cleverly subverts his message to appear ‘matter of fact’ and ‘normal’ while at the same time getting tricky points across.
“Through the Crimson Mirror” does not set itself up as having all the answers and if this were a Grade 10, 11 or 12 set work in Life Orientation (which I would highly recommend: Life Orientation Educators please take note!) there would be many areas for the Educator to discuss points and/or discrepancies/contentiousness which should lead to lively classroom debates … all within a framework of communication.
“Through the Crimson Mirror” Book 1, is what it is: an introspective reflection on parenting from a young man’s point of view.
Can you afford NOT to read it?
Multimedia performance artist / freelance journalist
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