Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Book Review)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into ValuesZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Bookshelves: abandoned, americana, cult classic, everybody loved it but me, new age, spirituality, travel, ugh

Unpacking following my recent move, I’ve come across a few books that are only partially read and will probably remain that way and I really have no clue why I hauled them from the other end of Puget Sound, let alone all the way from Nevada. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of them.

The problem I had with it gelled when I saw another reviewer compare it to The Celestine Prophecy. ~snap~ That’s it! I did read that one all the way through many years ago, but only because a guy I was newly dating raved about it and gave me a pristine new copy and I tend to get a little mushy when men give me books, and I was looking forward to deep discussions about all the spiritual-awakening-law-of-universal-truth stuff I was going to find. What a slog that book was, pushing my way through forests (or was it jungles? Peru, maybe?) and shootings and electrified fences and climbing to the tops of trees to get away from robot bears…no wait, I’m confusing it with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower for some reason, no doubt partly because my inconsiderate neighbors have had me awake since goddamn midnight-something. Another Monday with only a couple hours’ sleep because people are assholes.

Anyway. The Celestine Prophecy turned out to be poorly constructed and poorly written mush, as much a waste of my time as the man who gave it to me, one of those chickenshits who doesn’t tell you anything is wrong with the relationship, then dodges you for two weeks before finally breaking things off by email. Schmuck. That book I remember donating to a thrift store in Nevada, along with The Tenth Insight that I never even cracked the spine on.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was much the same, slightly better written but still monotonous. It’s been a while since I tried to read it, but it had to have been sometime since 2009, because inside its pages I found a lovey-dovey note from my husband that I was using as a bookmark. All I remember is get on the bikes, ride for a while, stop for coffee and breakfast, explain something about Life, the Universe, and Everything to the kid, ride some more, look at scenery, pull over, fix a sprocket or whatever, find a place to camp. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is a classic from some time ago and it has a lot of devotees, many of whom are people I consider spiritually wise, but I found the book dull as dishwater. I put it down one day and never picked it back up, but I’m happy to have rescued the love note.



Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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